I have no idea why I put off making this recipe for so long, but I could kick myself for it. (The ironic part is that I've made the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars from the same episode at least a dozen times.) As I've come to expect with any Ina Garten recipe, this dish is simple, flavorful, and just plain awesome. If you like fresh vegetables you will not be disappointed by this recipe since it's basically just a fresh veggie salad with bread. And if you don't like fresh vegetables, you might want to leave now weirdo. Just joking. Kind of.
I cut this recipe in half and it easily served four adults so I would take that into consideration. The bread was my favorite part of this dish (it was a tough race with the cucumbers though), but it started to soggy pretty fast so I would keep the bread separate and mix it in at the last second on only as much as you think you'll need (this way any leftovers can be stored separately and won't suffer from soggy bread). Beyond that, this recipe is perfect. Next time I might skip the vinaigrette and just use Italian dressing, but that's really just because I'm lazy.
Would I make this again? Oh yes. The flavor is unbelievable.
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.