- 8 ounces day-old sourdough bread with crust, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (4 cups)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 1 small fennel bulb, tops trimmed, bulb very thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup brined black olives, such as Gaeta or Calamata, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup loosely packed shredded basil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until nicely toasted. Let cool, then return to the bowl. Put the pine nuts on the baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes, or until golden. Add to the croutons in the bowl.
- Roast the bell pepper over a gas flame or under the broiler until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly. Peel and seed the pepper and cut it into 3/4-inch dice. Add the bell pepper to the croutons along with the tomatoes, fennel, onion, olives and basil.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and pour it over the salad. Toss and let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.
The tossed salad can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.