An American take on Panzanella Salad
Don't throw that leftover bread loaf out! If you follow my Italian Pantry Rules, you will have a mouth-watering, crowd-pleasing salad for summer entertaining with just a few additions .
Living in Umbria bordering Tuscany taught me what the original Panzanella was and still is: a delicious melange of soaked bread, minced celery, diced tomatoes, minced onions, olive oil and vinegar. Why soaked bread? Because the bread is typically a day or two old and who wastes bread?
This recipe requires a few more steps and ingredients but definitely a crowd pleaser.
1/2 red onion
1/2 cucumber (optional) or 1 branch of celery, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 Teaspoon capers, rinsed (optional)
1/4 cup Nicoise, Gaeta or Sicilian green olives, pitted and halved
1 cup cubes of day old bread,
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1. Peel and dice the onion. Core, seed and dice the tomatoes. Peel, seed and dice the cucumber.
2. Cut the bread into 1/’2 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden.
3. Make vinaigrette with the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Combine the vegetables, parsley, basil, capers, olive and croutons in a bowl.
Toss with the vinegar and adjust the seasonings. Let the salad stand for at least 30 minutes or longer to allow the bread to absorb the oil and vinegar and soften. Serve room temperature