½ lb. Italian bread (from a large country loaf; day-old bread is fine)
4 large tomatoes (about 1 ¼ lb.), cut into ¾” pieces, or equivalent of cherry tomatoes
1 seedless cucumber, cut into ½” pieces
½ small red onion, sliced (about ½ cup)
1 – 15 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (about 2/3 cup)
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped (optional)
3 T. pine nuts, toasted
4 oz. Pecorino cheese, grated or shaved
3 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed or mashed
About ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Cut the bread into ¾” cubes. (You should have about 6 cups of bread.) Toss bread with about 2 T. olive oil and toast until light golden, 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside.
Combine tomatoes and ½ t. salt in large bowl. Transfer to colander and set over bowl; set aside to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Whisk remaining 6 T. olive oil, 3 T. vinegar, garlic and ¼ t. pepper into reserved tomato juices. Add all other ingredients: bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cannellini beans, and olives in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spoon salad onto plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with pine nuts, basil and Pecorino cheese, and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
Chef’s Notes: Goat cheese is also good with this salad, crumbled on top! You can also add other summer veggies, such as grilled zucchini/yellow squash, bell peppers, etc.