"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Italian Bread Salad

Love Italian? Cut leftover white bread into cubes and let them stale a bit to make this easy and brilliant summer salad the Italians invented to use up day-old bread. Wakes up everyone's taste buds and with the bread cubes soaked in the wonderfully assertive dressing it's filling enough to be its own meal. Easy. Serves 6 to 8.

Italian Bread Salad

1 pound lettuce (romaine is nice)
1 large cucumber (English is preferred)
1 large fresh tomato, cut in thin wedges
1 cup sliced red radishes or daikon radish
1/2 pound or 4 cups stale French or Italian bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (don't omit!)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried basil or dried mixed Italian herbs
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese; the stuff in the cans won't work.

Wash the lettuce, pat or spin the leaves dry, tear them into bite-sized pieces. Peel the cucumber and slice. Put the lettuce and cucumber in a large bowl along with the tomato, radishes, bread cubes and onion.

Next, put the oil, vinegar, basil or seasoning, garlic, salt, and some pepper in a blender and blend at high speed for 1 minute. Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, and toss the salad gently for several minutes.

Chill the salad at least a half-hour before serving. Two or three days from now it'll taste just as good.