Cialledda | Southern Italian Bread Salad Recipe
You heard that right, bread salad! It might sound strange, but rehydrating very stale bread (called "pane duro") in water yields an amazing texture: soft and gooey on the outside, with a firm al dente bite inside.
We have intentionally left the ingredient amounts vague, partly because measuring stale homemade bread is a fool's errand, and also because there are NO rules when it comes to this dish. Use enough bread to fill the serving dish you like, and adjust the other ingredients as you see fit. Add as much or as little of each as you like!
A quick note on the stale bread. It's very important that you use real, homemade bread. Most store-bought bread has added preservatives that specifically prevent it from becoming stale in the way we need it.
You can easily make pane duro by taking homemade bread, tearing it into large chunks, and baking them at a very low oven temperature (the lowest, we would recommend) until the bread is rock hard.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
Chunks of stale, homemade bread ("pane duro")
Grape tomatoes, halved
Thinly sliced red onion
Sliced kalamata olives
1-2 anchovies (don't be scared of these, they add a subtle umami flavor but you won't tell what it is)
Fresh black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the chunks of stale bread in a large bowl and fill it with water to submerge them. Let them soak for 60-90 seconds. Soaking "pane duro" is an art, not a science, so we recommend doing so for a shorter period of time, trying a piece, and soaking longer if necessary to achieve a softness you like. Drain the bread completely.
In a large serving bowl, combine the bread with grape tomatoes, sliced onion, cucumber, chopped mozzarella, and olives. Tear a couple of anchovies into small pieces and add these as well, along with some torn basil leaves.
Season the salad with salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Drizzle generously with olive oil and mix all together.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Buon appetito!