I became addicted to real Greek salads on a vacation in Greece two years ago. In our house, we are always using ciabatta to mop up the delicious tomato-and-oregano infused olive oil in the bottom of our bowls. So I applied the Italian panzanella concept here, first warming the bread and then mixing the tomatoes with it first to draw out their juices a bit. When the cherry tomatoes are just at their peak, the other Greek salad ingredients are, too--a perfectly seasonal combination! —virgieandhats
4, as a side
4 to 5
slices ciabatta or rustic bread, stale or fresh, cubed
fleur de sel, divided (1/2 tsp or less, divided, if using regular salt) and you may want to start with less depending on salt levels in your olives, feta and bread
mixture of fresh flat-leaf parsley and/or oregano, not packed
cloves fresh garlic, minced
cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a mixture of yellow, red, and green)
bell pepper, thinly sliced
cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
kalamata olives, halved
feta cheese, sliced
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In a large bowl, toss ciabatta, olive oil, half of fleur de sel or salt, herbs and garlic. Toss, toss, toss until cubes of bread are evenly coated. Empty contents of bowl onto a baking sheet and place in oven 5 to 10 minutes, until bread is pale gold, warm and sizzling, but not browned or crisp. (In my oven this took just 7 minutes.)
Place tomatoes and the other half of salt in a large serving bowl, and toss. (You can use the bowl you used for tossing the bread mixture.) Remove bread from oven and let it cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then toss with tomato and salt mixture.
When tomatoes and bread mixture have cooled down to just around room temperature, add pepper, onion, cucumber, olives, sherry vinegar and feta. Toss well. Serve.