Create California-Style Simplicity at Home
Warm Harvest Bread Salad
1 one-pound loaf artisan bread, preferably a day old
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons pear vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 firm-ripe pears
3/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
Set the bread on a clean work surface, and cut it in half crosswise. Remove the crusts and about 1/4 inch of the bread. Preheat an oven broiler. Brush the bread very lightly all over with olive oil, set it on a sheet pan and broil until the bread takes on a little color; turn and continue until all surfaces have been lightly toasted. Cool, tear into 2 inch pieces, put the pieces into a wide shallow serving bowl and cover. This can be done up to a day in advance.
Put the shallots into a small bowl, season with 1 teaspoon salt, add the sugar and vinegar and agitate the bowl gently to dissolve the sugar. Add the thyme, and let rest for 15 minutes. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, taste and if it seems a bit too tart, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
Spoon half the dressing over the bread and toss. Set aside.
Put the butter into a medium sauté pan. Working quickly, peel the pears, cut them in lengthwise quarters; remove the seed cores and cut into 3/4-inch dice. Melt the butter over medium-low heat, add the pears and sauté, turning gently with a spatula, until they are lightly browned all over. Remove from the heat and add to the bread, along with the olives, cherry tomatoes and parsley. Toss the salad, and mound it on one side of the dish.
Serve the bread salad with a roasted chicken, using either your favorite recipe or the roasted chicken recipe at www.discovercaliforniawine.com (click on CA Wine Month). Pair the white meat with Chardonnay, the dark meat with Pinot Noir. To serve just one wine, consider a dry rosé.