Panzanella (Tomato and Bread Salad) is the perfect warm weather salad, especially when tomatoes are in peak season. Panzanella is a Italian dish originating in Tuscany. This was a good (and incredibly delicious) way to use up stale bread. Some folks toast the bread pieces, which is perfectly fine…but the classic traditional way is to not toast them. I guess I’m a bit of a traditionalist when comes to these sorts of things. Once the bread soaks up the juices from the tomatoes, and the vinegar…and then blends with the herbs, onion and capers…Oh My!! So good! 120% Loon Approved!
Panzanella (Tomato and Bread Salad)
- 2 large tomatoes cored, and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small cucumber peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded (with a spoon / optional), and sliced
- 1 small red onion chopped, or thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil chopped, plus a couple leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil more to taste
- 3 tbsp good quality red wine vinegar more to taste
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf country-style bread or 6 - 8 slices day-old country white bread
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil.
- Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil and the 3 tablespoons vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
- Gently toss to coat evenly.
- Cut or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place half of the bread in a wide shallow bowl or dish.
- Spoon on half of the tomato mixture and layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
- Toss the salad, then taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, and vinegar.
- If the bread is dry, add a little more olive oil.
- Garnish with a few basil leaves before serving.