Image: Clinton Hussey
Here's a rare case where slightly stale bread actually works better than fresh.
- Half of a good-quality baguette
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for dressing
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved on a slight diagonal
- 1 cup small bocconcini, torn in pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2 Cut the baguette into 1" cubes and transfer to a large bowl. Place the oil and garlic in a small dish; let stand for a minute, then drizzle over the bread cubes and toss to coat.
3 Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until pale golden and toasted, about 10 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, simmer the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by half; it should have the consistency of a thin syrup. Set aside to cool.
5 Arrange the toasted bread, tomatoes and bocconcini on a platter or divide among individual plates. Top with the fresh basil leaves, left whole, torn or thinly sliced. Drizzle with the oil and the balsamic reduction, sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.