Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Panzanella, a.k.a. Tomato Bread Salad

Interestingly Sharing the Good Life in the WV was not intended to be a food blog per se, but I keep finding myself  writing about food.  Maybe it’s because it’s summer and there is so much of it around, both in good quanity and quality.  Nevertheless, over the weekend I had dinner with friends and we made the most incredible fresh homegrown tomato bread salad (Panzanella).  So here I we go again.  I really do want to share this salad with you.  It's one of my favorite summer dishes - one that's main ingredients are available now and will be gone soon – homegrown tomatoes.  If you don’t grow them yourself, you can surely find them at your local farmer's market.

Bon appetite!
Panzanella Salad

All ingredients are approximate depending on your taste.

  • 4 cups of fresh homegrown tomatoes cut in wedges and quartered (this could include cherry and yellow pear sliced in half)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives sliced in half
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves torn or cut in strips
  • 2 T crumbled blue, gorgonzola or feta cheese (optional)
  • 2 to 3 cups homemade croutons (recipe to follow)

  • 2 T balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove pressed garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In small bowl or jar combine the vinegar, lemon juice, pressed garlic, salt, pepper .  Wisk in the olive oil until well combine.
  2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onion, olives, crumbled cheese and basil leaves. This can be done several hours ahead - cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the croutons and the balsamic/olive oil dressing.  Toss until well combined allowing the croutons to soak up some of the dressing.  Additional salt and pepper may to added to taste.
Homemade Croutons

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F

About 4 cups artisan bread torn into approximately 1 inch pieces.
     Ciabatta, sourdough or pugliese work well. 
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed
1 tsp. salt

  1. In a large frying pan, add olive oil and garlic. 
  2. When olive oil is hot add croutons and quickly toss. 
  3. Lower heat and continue to toss the bread until olive oil has been equally distributed into the bread. 
  4. When the bread begins to turn a golden brown remove frying pan from heat and put into the 200 degree oven. 
  5. Turn off heat and let croutons dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Croutons should be crunchy but not completely dried.
  6. Store unused croutons in air tight container.


Anonymous said...

Looks very good. I will have to try this for a party this weekend!

Evelyn Meadows said...

It is a delicious refreshing side dish. Goes great with just about any entree! Thanks for the comment. E