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Sailor-Style Bread Salad

Here is another example of getting new life from leftover bread. This bread and tuna salad was originally a clever use of stale bread by Italian sailors, who combined it with the fish they caught at sea, a few spices, and olive oil. Consider this lively salad, with its pungent capers, olives, and anchovies, a meal in itself. Make it early in the day to allow the flavors to soak into the bread. SERVES 6 TO 8


Two 6 1/2-ounce cans tuna in olive oil

4  cups stale bread chunks

4  shallots, finely minced

One 4-ounce can anchovies in olive oil, drained and cut into small pieces, oil reserved

1/2  cup finely chopped oil-cured black olives

1/2  cup extra-virgin olive oil

1  tablespoon capers in brine, drained and minced

1  tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

Fine sea salt to taste

1/2  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1  lemon, thinly sliced

1  orange, thinly sliced


Drain the tuna, reserving the olive oil.  Place the tuna in a small bowl, flake it with a fork and set aside.

Fill a large bowl with cool water.  Quickly dip the bread chunks into the water to moisten them.  Squeeze the bread dry and crumble it onto a large serving platter.

In a medium bowl, mix the shallots, anchovies and their oil, the tuna oil, olives, 1/3 cup of the extra-virgin olive oil, the capers, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Mix in the tuna.  Pour the mixture over the bread and toss to combine well.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top.

Arrange the lemon and orange slices around the edges of the platter, overlapping them slightly.  Cover the platter tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours before serving.  (Or refrigerate for longer, but bring to room temperature before serving.)

This recipe is from What You Knead by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc. in 1997.

This recipe is featured on show 402 – Two Caponatas.



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