Panzanella Salad (a classic Tuscan style tomato and bread salad)
Though I have made this salad before I recently came across this version by Seriouseats.com. It has all of the flavors of summer packed into it. Being a “bread” salad you might think it is heavy – but it’s not. It is a great change from a pasta salad and would be an excellent addition to any summer menu. Enjoy.
2½ lbs. mixed tomatoes (I used all grape tomatoes) cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
¾ lb. Ciabatta or rustic sourdough bread, cut into ½” cubes (about 6 cups of bread cubes)
10 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 TBSP)
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
Place the tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl and season with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature to drain, tossing occasionally, while you toast the bread. Drain for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to center position. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until crisp and firm but not browned – about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Remove colander of tomatoes from bowl with the juices of the sliced tomatoes. Place colander with the tomatoes in the sink. Add shallot, garlic, mustard, and vinegar to bowl with tomato juice. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the remaining ½ cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine toasted bread, tomatoes and dressing in a large bowl. Add basil leaves. Toss everything to coat and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 30 minutes before serving, tossing occasionally until dressing is completely absorbed by bread.
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