This classic Florentine salad of bread and tomatoes is ideal for a light summer meal. Until the twentieth century the salad was based on onions rather than tomatoes, but its evolution takes advantage of tomatoes when they’re at their best.
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½ loaf ciabatta
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, 1 peeled, 1 crushed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flatleaf parsley
1 tablespoon baby capers, drained
6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, finely sliced
½ cucumber, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
12 fresh basil leaves, ripped
50g stoned black olives, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the ciabatta in half and brush the cut sides with a little extra virgin olive oil. Heat a ridged grill pan or normal grill and toast the ciabatta until crisp and golden. Rub the peeled garlic clove over the cut sides of the bread, tear the bread into rough chunks and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the crushed garlic clove and the red wine vinegar. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the freshly chopped flatleaf parsley.
In a large bowl, mix together the bread and baby capers, plum tomatoes, sliced onion, cucumber, sliced celery, basil leaves, and black olives, and toss with the dressing. Season to taste.