Bread Salad with Fontina and Black-Forest Ham

A cross between panzanella (Italian bread salad) and an upscale chef's salad, this recipe calls for more croutons than lettuce and incorporates cubes of fontina and strips of silky cured ham. Use either a mild Dutch or Danish fontina or a more assertive Italian cheese, depending on your taste.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1 10- ounces loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound fontina, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 6 ounces sliced Black Forest ham, cut into strips approximately 1 1/2 by 1/2 inch

Preparation

  1. 1. Heat the oven to 325°. Toss the bread cubes with the 3 tablespoons oil and spread on a large baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft inside, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. 2. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining 2/3 cup oil slowly, whisking.
  3. 3. Add the toasted bread, cheese, tomatoes, celery, onion, and parsley and toss to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the lettuce and ham and toss again.
  4. Wine Recommendation: This full-flavored salad can easily partner a red wine--even, because of its ham and cheese, one with some tannin. A Beaujolais-Villages, light-bodied, fruity, and just a bit tannic, will be delicious.
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