I came home from Italy this week to a cherry tomato plant that was producing out of control and an insatiable desire to try to recreate the dishes I had while at cooking school in Italy. One of my very favorites is this bread salad from Puglia called la capunata, not to be confused with caponata, the iconic Italian eggplant dish.The rib sticking portion of the salad is made from these, frise (free-say). They are barley flour bread that is cooked, then sliced in half with a sort of wire, and baked again until completely dry – the same twice cooking technique that produces biscotti (“twice cooked”). Once completely dry, they can be transported easily without spoiling – like out to sea with the fishermen who rehydrate them in the salty waters off the coast of southern Italy. To make capunata, we do the same thing – rehydrate the bread, break it up, combine it with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, basil and capers, and dress with the very best olive oil you can find. Salt to taste. Can’t find frise? They taste surprisingly similar to Grape Nuts cereal – I know it sounds weird, but give it a try!

Want to get the real back story on making La Capunata? Visit the website of The Awaiting Table cookery school for details.