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bread salad

In France, they use stale bread to make French Toast. I love France, the French, and French Toast!

In Italy, stale bread is used to make Panzanella Salad. I adore Italy, Italians, and Panzanella Salad!

And obviously, I love photos of Marissa and Connor too! xoxo

Grilled Panzanella Salad

1  1/2 cups small to medium fresh basil leaves, divided
1 cup olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small Fresno chile, seeded, minced
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, assorted colors and sizes
1 pound rustic or sourdough bread loaf, cut into 1/2 -inch thick slices
1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved

Purée 3/4 cup of the basil leaves and 1/2 cup of olive oil in a blender until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain the mixture into a large salad bowl, first by tapping on the rim of the strainer and then by pressing on the solids to extract as much oil as possible; discard the solids in the strainer.

Add shallot, chile, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the basil oil; whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes into assorted wedges, halves, slices, and cubes; add to a bowl with dressing. Toss to coat; let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan over high heat. Brush bread on both sides with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Grill bread until charred with lines from the grill pan, about 2 minutes per side.

Rub grilled bread with cut sides of garlic clove. Tear bread into 1 -inch pieces.

Add bread and remaining 3/4 cup basil leaves to bowl with tomatoes; toss to coat. Season Panzanella to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 8

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