(I need to start out by saying the photos here will look much better if you take your glasses off. I'm not sure why I can't seem to take a picture anymore. Lack of practice has a lot to do with it, I'm sure. That and being distracted by the Big Bang Theory rerun that was on tv. I'm rarely home for this show. *sigh* Am I the only one who finally developed an appreciation for this series??)
Back to the dish: I really do love this salad. Evidently it was created to use up a rather tasteless bread. The recipe I based this on has you just tear up the bread. Rather brutish, if you ask me. I prefer to slice Italian or French bread rather thickly, then lightly toast (in the oven or a toaster, your choice). I like the kind of 'crouton-ish' texture of the bread in the salad when it's toasted.
The flavors of the season really come through here. Nice ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and sweet cucumbers just sing summer. An uncomplicated dressing finishes off the dish. Eat it alone for a light lunch or serve it alongside a simply prepared chicken dish, and Roberto's your uncle. :-)
2 medium to large ripe tomatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 small cucumber, pared and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
6 - 8 thick slices of French or Italian bread, lightly toasted, cut into bite-sized pieces
Mix vegetables and basil in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar over vegetables. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
Layer half of the bread in bottom of serving dish. Spread half of the vegetables over the bread. Layer rest of the bread over first layer of vegetables, and finish salad with spreading the rest of the vegetables along with rest of the dressing over top of second layer of bread. Cover and rest in refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve immediately.