Originally this salad came about as a way to use up leftover stale bread. In our
house good bread is NEVER stale or leftover! It is a must in the summer when
we all have an abundance of good tomatoes from the garden.
5 ripe tomatoes sliced thinly
½ tsp. kosher salt or to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 hot house cucumber halved and sliced
2-3 tsp. capers
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cloves fresh minced garlic plus 1 whole one for the croutons
15 fresh basil leaves stacked and sliced into ribbons
good extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 loaf crusty French bread cut up into large cubes
FOR THE TOASTED CROUTONS – In a large skillet on med/high heat some olive oil (one turn of the pan) with a crushed clove of garlic. Add the bread cubes and a pinch of salt. Toss till well coated and keep tossing every minute until the cubes are toasted. They should be crunchy on the outside but still chewy in the middle.
Remove from heat and discard the garlic clove. In a large bowl toss the rest of the ingredients. Add the bread cubes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Give a final toss and season to taste.