This is another excuse to eat good bread in the guise of a "salad," one of my favorite ploys. I pan-fry the croutons so they're crispy, yet soft, and flavored with olive oil, which pairs well with tangy olives, capers, and tomatoes (aka puttanesca sauce). A salty girl's dream lunch. —Laurie
Test Kitchen Notes
The croutons were oh-so-crispy! The mix of ingredients was good. Next time, I might include even more vegetables in the salad, like peppers or cucumbers. (This time I added arugula.) —feastathome
medium loaf high-quality crusty bread, preferably white
Cut most of the crust off of the bread and discard or save for another use. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. You should have about 4 cups.
Heat a large heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. You want the croutons to fit in one layer with room in between to flip. You may have to fry the bread in two batches. When the pan is hot, add olive oil (just 3 tablespoons if you're only doing half), and when the oil is hot, add the cubes of bread in one layer (they should sizzle—but make sure they don't burn). After 2 minutes or so, when the undersides of the croutons are nicely brown, flip each crouton. Cook for another few minutes until brown and flip onto a plate.
Combine all the salad ingredients, toss, and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the croutons. You could serve on a bed of arugula or basil, but it really doesn't need it.