Bread salad has always struck me as a simultaneously strange yet delightful dish. Bread. In a salad. It seems almost contradictory - shouldn't salads be made of vegetables? In fact, most bread salads I've had in the past are mostly vegetables. For example, the one I had a couple of weeks ago at a cafe on Bainbridge Island, Washington with my friend, Dave. It was packed with greens, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a lovely balsamic reduction. Yum!
The weather has turned cold (it's supposed to be a chilly 32 degrees in my area tonight, which is actually warmer than much of the rest of the country). Salad seems unseasonable. Still, I was intrigued when I saw this recipe in the October edition of Food & Wine. After all, if it's roasted, that means it must be warm, right? Yep. And true to form, I found it both strange and delightful!
A couple of notes: I halved the recipe from Food & Wine, which said it would serve 4. We still ended up with a decent amount of leftovers (at the quantity we eat, I'd say the recipe below would safely feed 3, possibly even 4). I omitted the parsley called for in the original recipe because I don't really care for the flavor. My final variation from the original recipe was due to my lack of lemon (it turned out what I thought was a lemon from the neighbor was in fact a yellow lime!). In its stead, I substituted 1 Tbsp. minced preserved lemon and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice.
Pan Roasted Salmon Bread Salad
4 1-inch thick slices of ciabatta, cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, halved lengthwise and very thinly chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss bread and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl. Add bread to a roasting pan. Roast 5 minutes, until bread is lightly toasted.
In the same bowl, toss tomatoes with garlic, capers, lemon, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir tomatoes into bread. Roast 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down.
Still using the same large bowl, toss salmon with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle salmon into bread and tomatoes. Roast 6 minutes, until salmon is just cooked through.
The only thing that bothered me about this dish was the lack of green. I remedied this by serving it along a simple green salad.