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Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

A great way to use day-old bread, this is a variation on the traditional dish, which is made without peppers or mozzarella.

Work: 15 minutes

Total: 30 minutes

1/2 loaf (8 ounces) day-old rustic bread
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tomatoes, diced
2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
10 leaves basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) diced fresh mozzarella

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and spread on a baking sheet. Bake until it's dry and slightly crisp, about 8 minutes; set aside.

For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; set aside.

In a large serving bowl, toss together the bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, basil, and mozzarella. Add dressing and mix well. Allow salad to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

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