Peasant's Supper Salad - Serves 4 to 6 with leftovers
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- About 4 cups ice water
- About 4 cups (1/2 loaf) leftover coarse chewy country bread cut into 1-inch pieces
- 7 tablespoons wine vinegar, and more as needed
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (you won't taste them, but they deepen and enrich the salad)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 small stalk celery with leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 sweet yellow peppers cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 2 1/2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes
- Handful sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
- About 18 fresh basil leaves
- 1 medium-hot fresh chile, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 12 Italian oil-cured or Greek kalamata olives, pitted
- 3 whole scallions
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
- 6 or so fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, cover onions with ice water. Put bread in medium bowl, tossing with 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and the 1/2 cup water. Chill 30 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
In a large bowl, mash together anchovy, garlic, and remaining 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Let stand about 10 minutes (this mutes the anchovy). Add the celery, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, and peas.
Set aside a few whole herb leaves, then finely chop the rest with the garlic, chile (if using), olives, scallions, and capers. Add these to the bowl. Drain the onions and toss them in the bowl, too.
Squeeze the bread dry. Fold it gently into the salad along with the cheese. Taste the salad for seasoning, adding a little more vinegar if needed. Garnish with the herb leaves.