(Italian bread and tomato salad)
Panzanella is a classic summer salad from Tuscany and neighboring regions in central Italy. Tuscans are known for the ingenious ways they use up old bread, and this salad is a perfect example.
Be sure to use a good quality, crusty bread. Sometimes called panmolle.
4 to 6 servings
- Good quality bread, crust removed and cubed -- 2 to 3 cups
- Tomatoes, seeded and diced -- 2 to 3
- Red onion, thinly sliced -- 1
- Fresh basil, shredded or torn -- 1 cup
- Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
- Red wine vinegar -- 2 tablespoons
- Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Soak the bread in water to cover for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Work bread with your hands to break it up a bit and place it in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion and basil and toss all the ingredients together.
- In a bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the ingredients in the bowl and toss it all together again.
- Set aside for at least 30 minutes to let flavors mingle and serve at room temperature.
- Other possible additions: Drained canned tuna, diced cucumber, chopped romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, capers, chopped anchovies, cooked white beans.