A refreshing Italian bread salad with tomatoes, cucumber, celery and pieces of toasted ciabatta. A great salad eaten on its own or as a side dish
- 1 half-ciabatta or ½ large ciabatta
- 1-2tbsp olive oil
- 500g (1lb) plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ cucumber, deseeded and sliced
- 2 sticks of celery, sliced
- 2-3tbsp freshly torn basil leaves
- Sprigs of basil, for garnish
- For the dressing:
- 4tbsp olive oil
- 2tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- Pinch of mustard powder
- Pinch of caster sugar
- Salt and ground black pepper
Set the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180°C. Cut the ciabatta into about 2cm (¾in) slices and brush each side lightly with oil. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and bake it for about 10-15 mins, turning it over about halfway through, so the bread has dried out and is pale golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
To make the dressing: Mix together all of the dressing ingredients.
Place the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, celery and basil in a bowl and pour the dressing over. Tear the bread into pieces and place in the bowl, then toss everything together. Leave the salad for about 5-10 mins before serving, to allow the bread to soak up some of the dressing, but don’t allow it to go soggy. Garnish the salad with sprigs of basil just before serving.
Only pour the dressing over the bread so that they stay crisp.