If you have stale bread to use up, this classic Italian salad is ideal. As ever for simple dishes, good-quality ingredients are crucial, so use lovely ripe tomatoes, flavourful olive oil and excellent bread.
Slice 1 of the garlic cloves. Pour the olive oil into a cold frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Gently cook until the oil heats and the garlic starts to colour. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the bread to the oil, increase the heat to medium–high and toss until crisp and golden. Transfer to paper towels.
Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, put in a colander set over a bowl and press down lightly with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Set aside.
Finely grate the remaining garlic clove into a bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the tomato juices caught in the bowl under the colander. Season generously with salt and pepper and whisk.
Put the toasted bread, tomatoes, cucumber and basil in a bowl. Add the dressing and gently toss with your hands. The salad will be fine to stand for up to 20 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to mingle.
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