Summer Panzanella

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or other good bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (~ 6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes (or a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained (optional)

For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne (or other) vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

2. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

4. Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

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