Panzanella is a delightful Italian bread salad made with summer’s bounty: fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil.
This is a “what you have on hand” salad. It is not a recipe that requires exact amount or ingredients. When I made it last, I used a few different loaves of bread that were in danger of spoiling in the heat. I made pesto the day before so I didn’t have quite as much basil as listed below, but added all that I had.
Gluten free? Use gluten free bread. No shallots, use a little garlic or green onion.
You get the idea.
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
- 1 pound loaf Italian or French Bread (cut in 1 inch cubes)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided use)
- 1 ½ pound fresh tomatoes (cut in 1 inch cubes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into slices)
- 1 small shallot (chopped)
- ¼ cup fresh basil (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large bowl, add bread pieces and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over them to coat. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light brown, flipping once. About 15 minutes.
- While bread is toasting add tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt to the bowl and toss lightly. Let stand 15 minutes. (this is when I chop the remaining ingredients)
- Remove bread from the oven and set aside to cool briefly.
- Drain the tomato juices to a small bowl. Add cucumbers, shallot, basil and toasted bread to the tomatoes.
- Add vinegar and 6 tablespoons oil to the tomato juices. Whisk to combine, then drizzle over the the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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