Cook's Notes: "Panzanella Salad is a great way to use up leftover or slightly stale bread and ripe tomatoes. The original recipe is typically made with red wine vinegar and olive oil. This version substitutes balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar. Be sure to use your best extra light virgin olive oil as quality becomes apparent after the first bite. The dish gets better the longer the flavors are allowed to infuse so you can make it several hours in advance. Be sure to stir the salad a couple of times. If you happen to shop at a store that carries speciality oils and balsamic vinegars consider buying chocolate balsamic vinegar. It is amazing in this recipe." - Sue Ready
Panzanella or panmolle (bread salad) is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread, diced tomatoes, onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
- 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1 inch cubes you will need 2 cups
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into cubes
- 1 cup diced cucumbers or 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
- 1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 6-8 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- optional grilled summer squash or cooked green beans
- optional adding in mixed greens
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup extra light virgin olive oil
- 3 TB. balsamic vinegar
- 1 TB. dried spice mixture a combination of oregano, thyme and parsley
- In a blender add oil, spices, minced garlic and vinegar. Mix well.
- In a bowl place stale bread cubes and add half of the vinaigrette to the cubes. Toss to coat well and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl add tomatoes chunks, onions, peppers, cucumbers and torn basil leaves.
- Salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine ingredients.
- Add in rest of vinaigrette with bread cubes.
- Mix the salad ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer the salad sits, the juicer the tomatoes will be.