Foodie Friday - Polenta & Italian Bread Salad

Oo La La! All the best the summer has to offer! Suggestions and flavors of somewhere exotic and Mediterranean! Once again, from Denise & Yvonne of "Cooking for Real". Dig in!!

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Summer's Best Polenta

1 tube polenta, cut into 1/2 -inch slices

4 plum tomatoes or small red tomatoes, seeded, diced

1 cup diced cucumber

1 (10 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 T olive oil

2 T fresh oregano (or 2 t dried)

1 T fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven broiler. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan.

Line pan with polenta slices; set aside. Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, and olives in a large bowl. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste; mix. Spoon this topping over the polenta slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Broil in preheated oven until the polenta is hot, and the cheese is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

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Mid-Summer Italian Bread Salad (from allrecipes.com)

1 clove garlic

1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup cucumber – peeled, seeded and chopped

1 cup chopped red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups chopped fresh basil

1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

Rub a peeled clove of garlic around a wooden salad bowl.

Pull apart or chop the bread into bite-size pieces.

In the prepared salad bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, basil and thyme. Add enough olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat, toss and serve.