I am kicking myself for not trying this recipe at the beginning of the summer! What was I thinking?? It really is the epitome of summertime. Light, almost-no cooking, and tastes amazing with vegetables at their peak freshness, straight from the garden. The sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers is perfectly balanced with the salty feta and olives, all mixed together with toasty pieces of bread. H.E.A.V.E.N.
Now, I'd say my kids are pretty good eaters. Almost really, really good eaters. They gobble up vegetables, enjoy many different types of cuisine, and will usually try anything I put in front of them (I'm not saying they always like what I serve them, but I give them credit for trying it!). But I'm also not crazy. I knew they would likely pick at this salad, only eating the veggies they favor, or, at best, just fill up on the bread. I decided against serving this to the kiddos and reserved it just for the hubby and I. And, truth be told, we just about ate the entire thing. all. by. ourselves. yep. that happened.
How easy is that? Ina Garten
serves 6 (or 2 in my case!)
¼ cup good olive oil6 cups (1-inch) diced rustic bread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced ½-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and large diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ small red onion, sliced in half rounds
½ pound good feta cheese, cut in ¾ -inch cubes
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted
For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Add the bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Set aside.
Place the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl and toss together.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly add the remaining ½ cup olive oil and make an emulsion.
Add the feta, olives and bread to the vegetables in the bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Season to taste and serve at room temperature.