Recipe: Classic Panzanella Salad

There’s nothing like a meal in the summer that’s made with fresh veggies straight from the garden.  Extra bonus points if it’s a meal that can be made ahead and served on the go!!

Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad that is a staple in Italian households during the summer months. It can be made in a variety of ways, but mainly consists of chunks of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions tossed in a vinaigrette. At first, my crew was a little skeptical when they first eyed it up, but after one bite, they added it to our list of dishes to make again!

This is a dish that can be prepared in many ways, but below you can find my way!  

CLASSIC PANZANELLA SALAD

Ingredients:

2 cartons of cherry tomatoes, halved

3 teaspoons kosher salt, more for seasoning

1 English cucumber, cubed

1 loaf of ciabatta bread (or other rustic bread like sourdough) cut into 1 1/2″ cubes

3/4 cup olive oil plus 3 T; divided  (more if needed at the end to moisten)

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned or cut into pieces

Directions:

**Preheat over to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1.  Halve your cherry tomatoes and place them in a colander over a bowl to catch the drained juice.  Salt with Kosher salt.  Set aside.
  2.  In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until bread becomes toasted, but not brown. Remove and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, pour any juice taken from the tomatoes, as well as the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, shallot, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together to blend.
  4. Add the toasted bread and all of the veggies and toss.  Stir in the fresh herbs at the end.
  5. Add more olive oil to moisten, if needed.
  6. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow all of the flavors to meld together.  Toss occasionally.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

Note:  I bought a rotisserie chicken at the store to have with this meal for some added protein! Enjoy! xo    

Just like I love fine wine and dark chocolate, I'd love to hear from you too!