Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that makes used of stale bread by combining with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and basil and a dressing of olive oil and vinegar. Classic Panzanella makes great use of tomatoes in the peak of the season.
We have just 'discovered' panzanella this summer. Our family likes it as a side for grilled meat. We have also made a more hearty Mediterranean Panzanella that we like as a main course salad.
This recipe uses fresh ciabatta rolls, but day-old bread could be utilized as well. Panzanella does not hold well, so mix everything just prior to serving.
CLASSIC PANZANELLA (BREAD SALAD)
- 2 ciabatta rolls, cut into large chunks (equivalent to 3 cups)
- 3 cups tomatoes, cut in large chunks
- 1 English cucumber, cut in large chunks
- 1 small red onion, diced fine
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut ciabatta rolls in half horizontally and dice in 1/2-inch cubes. Spread in single layer on cookie sheet and toast until slightly golden brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl.
- When ready to serve, toss toasted bread with tomato mixture.
- Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve immediately.
Note: If serving alongside a lot of other food, it is recommended to blend only half the ingredients, preparing the other half if needed or as a welcomed 'leftover' the next day.