Panzanella (Italian Bread & Tomato Salad)

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Bring that stale bread on your counter back to life instead of throwing it away! Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that’s full of healthy vegetables and herbs. The key to success is using summer’s perfectly ripe tomatoes for a juicy, flavorful salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups, Cherry or Grape Tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/2 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Red Pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 Stale or Oven-dried Baguette (cut into croutons)
  • 1 cup, Basil (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup, Parsley (chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Wax Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Champagne Vinegar* (See notes for substitutions)
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

Here’s what I did:

First, add the chopped tomatoes to the bowl and season with 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  This will help bring out the juices of the tomatoes.

Next, add in the cut up onion, red pepper, yellow wax pepper (for a little heat), basil and parsley.

If you’re using stale bread, like me, then just chop into croutons and add to the salad.  If you’re using fresh baguette, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and roughly chop the bread into croutons.  Season the bread pieces with a little EVOO, salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven until completely dried out, about 7-10 minutes.  Then add to the vegetable bowl.

Make the vinaigrette.  Combine the minced garlic with the dijon mustard and champagne vinegar.  Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.  Whisk together until combined.  Slowly add in the half cup of EVOO.  Season with pepper and additional salt as needed.

Pour the vinaigrette over the bread and vegetable bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave on the counter to soak for at least 30 minutes but up to six hours. It’s ok to refrigerate here, but the vegetables will lose some of their flavor.

Serve and enjoy!

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A few notes, FYI:

If you don’t have champagne vinegar, you can substitute in red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  For a cold-weather take, use balsamic vinegar instead.

Feel free to substitute vegetables that you have on hand.  Only the tomatoes are key to this dish.  You can add cucumbers or leave out the yellow wax pepper.  You can also add chunks of mozzarella.


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