ITALIAN BREAD SALAD

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh Italian/French bread cubes

2 tsp minced garlic

6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 tbs chopped fresh oregano

3/4 tsp ground pepper

Pinch dried red pepper flakes

1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

1 lb plum tomatoes, diced, remove seeds

2 oz sliced Italian salami, in strips

2 green onions (scallions), sliced

1 bunch arugula (Italian greens), torn

Directions:

Spread bread cubes on cookie sheet and place in low oven until just crispy, not brown. Whisk oil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes together in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients except arugula; toss. Let stand 15 minutes. Add arugula, toss well and serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Once the bread cubes are crispy and cooled, place in a plastic food bag. Slice and dice salad ingredients and place in separate plastic food bags. Wash and tear arugula, place on long sheet of paper towel, roll paper towel up and wrap a dish towel around rolled paper towel. Refrigerate all. Mix dressing ingredients in a container and refrigerate. When ready to serve, combine bread cubes and salad ingredients. Pour salad dressing mixture over all and toss well.

Marilyn Conte