This salad started as a riff on a date salad from the great cookbook Jerusalem, but has become a nightly addition to the dinner table for the last two weeks. My husband and I surprised ourselves by eating an entire large bowl full the first night I made it, and he told me at the end of the meal, “why don’t we just have this for dinner every night?” So, we kind-of have, at least for now. It’s simple and versatile and comes together in a matter of minutes–just how I want a green salad to be.
Balsamic Bread Salad
1 head of lettuce, either Romaine or buttercrunch work nicely
12 or so cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly
about 1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese (feta works nicely)
2-3 slices of day-old country bread, or broken pitas, or whatever other bread you have
2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (optional)
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
a handful of nuts (pine nuts or sliced almonds)
a handful of shredded basil leaves would be delicious, too
Wash and tear your lettuce to the size you like (I tear small because I think it’s more enjoyable to eat it that way). Place in a medium-sized bowl, adding the cherry tomatoes, and then salt and pepper it all reasonably. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high, then add the butter and oil until melted. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add the bread and nuts, if using, and cook, stirring continually, until browned to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Once the bread and nuts have cooled, add to the salad. Splash with balsamic vinegar and some more salt and pepper. Serve immediately, before the bread gets soggy, adding a little more oil, if desired.