One Recipe That Combines The Best of Summer in a Bowl
This recipe is perfect for a summer meal or side dish that uses the best of fresh produce that you probably already have on hand. It's also a totally viable option throughout the rest of the year when you are craving a taste of summer in a bowl. You just have to work a little harder to find the freshest ingredients and come to terms with less flavorful tomatoes since they won't be in season. But it's a compromise may be willing to make if you have to.
If you haven't had Panzanella Salad, a Tuscan-style tomato and bread salad, then you are missing out on one of life's pleasures and summer's best dishes. Here are three essential ingredients that really matter in this simple, rustic and totally delicious dish. Grab these fresh summer ingredients while you can and start making this now!
The Star Ingredients of this Recipe
Gorgeous Fresh Tomatoes
Verdant Fresh Basil
Good Crusty Bread
Panzanella Recipe Tips That Make All the Difference
Salt & Drain the Tomatoes
This produces tons of flavorful liquid to build up a lot of vinaigrette—essential for rehydrating the dried bread.
Oven-Drying Fresh Bread
Drying fresh bread in the oven produces a better texture than using stale bread. It's an extra step but one that's well worth the effort.
The Proof is in the Dressing
The tomato juice combines with vinegar to create a flavor-packed vinaigrette. It's not fancy or complicated but simple delicious.
2 1/2 pounds mixed tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 pound ciabatta or rustic sourdough bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups bread cubes)
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
1. Place tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl and season with 2 teaspoons 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.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to center position. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and firm but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
3. Remove colander with tomatoes from bowl with tomato juice. Place colander with tomatoes in the sink. Add shallot, garlic, mustard, and vinegar to the bowl with tomato juice. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
4. 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.