One of my all time favorite things to make and eat, ever is Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad. Traditionally, Panzanella should be stale bread, tomatoes, maybe some onions, fresh basil and a light vinaigrette. But you can put lots of different things in it, its a bit of a catch all that way. However I have a certain line up of ingredients that I prefer, though they aren’t super conventional. Trust me on this one though, its always a crowd-pleaser.
- 2-3 lbs of mixed variety heirloom tomatoes, chopped (whatever you can get that tastes the best. From your garden, from your neighbors garden, whatever. For this version I used sweet grape tomatoes and some Kumatoes)
- a seedless cucumber, peeled, and chopped
- a yellow, red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 big handfuls of arugula (I have big hands)
- 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced and chopped (I’m not a big fan of onions, if you are, you may want more)
- HANDFULS of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 crusty loaf of bread (Maybe some No-Knead Bread?), sliced into think slices
- 1 tub of whole milk mozzarella, chopped into cubes
Place your crusty bread slices on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 400 for 5-10 minutes. Just enough to make sure that the bread is toasty and crusty all over. Then let it cool. While all of this is going on, prep your veggies and put them in a big, big bowl. Add your chopped mozzarella. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, chunk it up into big cubes and toss it with the veggies. Now you make the dressing and toss the whole thing together. Here’s the dressing recipe:
My Panzanella Dressing:
- Olive Oil (2 parts)
- Balsamic Vinegar (1 part)
- fresh lemon juice (usually 1 lemon)
- salt and fresh cracked pepper
I have no proportions for you, except that the order listed is from most to least. I usually just wing it and taste often. You don’t want too much dressing, just enough to coat everything. Maybe 1/4 cup or a little more if you like.
Make this (just mix it in tupperware and shake it it combine) and pour it over the salad and toss and toss until everything is well combined. Taste often and add more dressing or salt as needed. This salad is summer in a bowl! Enjoy!