In the most perfect of all worlds, things look as good as they taste. That’s true with this dish. Pink salmon, bright tomatoes, flecks of purpley onion, pale chunks of toasty bread and a drizzle of bright green basil oil – a virtual rainbow.

Then there’s a variety of textures: soft and tender (salmon), juicy and firm (tomatoes), crispy-chewy (chunks of toasted bread). And if you can serve this dish slightly warm, with the salmon recently emerged from the oven, you will be in for another level of sensory happiness.

This is the kind of one-bowl lunch or dinner that is pure summertime happiness. If you can figure out a way to enjoy it outside, all the better.


Servings: 4

8 ounces ciabatta bread

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound skinless salmon filets (any number of pieces to equal 1 pound)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (mixed colors look especially pretty)

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 tablespoons basil oil (see Note)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Tear the ciabatta into large chunks, about 1 1/2-inches big. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss them to combine, then spread them out on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bread starts to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large bowl, and keep the oven on.

Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to blend well. Spray the same rimmed baking sheet you used to toast the bread with nonstick spray. Place the salmon filets on the baking sheet and drizzle about half of the oil mixture over them, using a brush to distribute it evenly. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through. Remove and let cool slightly.

Use your fingers or a fork to pull the salmon apart into large chunks. Add the halved tomatoes, onions and the warm salmon chunks to the toasted bread in the bowl, drizzle the rest of the dressing over them, and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle the basil oil over the salad and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: To make basil oil, place 1/2 cup fresh basil, 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor, and pulse several times to roughly chop. With the motor running, add 1/4 cup olive oil through the top of the processor. When the oil is added, scrape down the sides of the food processor and process again.

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