By adding the fresh mozzarella and basil of a Caprese salad to the croutons and ripe tomatoes of a panzanella salad, this recipe combines two Italian classics into one terrific dish. As the salad sits, the bread soaks up the flavors of the balsamic dressing and tomato and softens slightly (this is why this is a good use for day-old bread, like baguette left over from Savory Parmesan Pain Perdu with Poached Eggs and Greens).
- 1 (18-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
- 1 1/2 lb tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Toss bread with 2 Tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread out in 1 layer. Bake, stirring once, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in vinegar, capers, and remaining 1/3 cup oil.
Add croutons to dressing along with tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, and basil, then toss. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
COOKS’ NOTE: Salad can be made 3 hours ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.