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Italian Tomato and Bread Salad - Panzanella

No recipe image available.This is an ideal recipe for using red-ripe, juicy home-grown garden tomatoes. Use anything less and the taste will be disappointing.

Recipe Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 a baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 pounds fresh garden-ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Cooking Directions:

  1. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the skillet and add the garlic and bread cubes. Mix well.
  2. Place the skillet in 350°F (175°C) oven and bake until the bread cubes are golden brown and crisp. Remove skillet from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Place diced tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Just before serving, toss tomato mixture with the toasted bread cubes and basil.
  4. Serve in bowls with spoons to get every last yummy drop.

Makes 6 servings.