Bread Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts

This rustic salad, made with toasted bread tossed in a rich Champagne-vinegar dressing, is meant to be a bed on which to serve Judy Rogers' legendary roast chicken and sop up its delicious juice. 

Roast Chicken with Bread Salad
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon dried currants

  • 1 tablespoon warm water

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Fine sea salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 pound stale Italian-style bread, cut into large chunks

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 4 cups lightly packed small arugula leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, soak the currants in the water and red wine vinegar until plumped, 10 minutes. Drain.

  2. In another small bowl, combine the Champagne vinegar with the 1/2 cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper.

  3. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Let cool, then tear the bread into bite-size pieces. In a bowl, toss the bread with three-quarters of the dressing and let stand for 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a pie plate, warm the pine nuts in the oven for 2 minutes.

  5. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add the scallions and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add the currants, bread, pine nuts and the remaining Champagne vinaigrette and toss.

  6. Spoon the bread salad into a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and bake for a few minutes longer to dry out the top and brown the bottom. Transfer the bread salad to a platter, toss with the arugula and serve.

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