Panzanella

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad. It’s fresh, summery, and filling and an excellent use of day-old bread (or older should you keep it in the fridge).  I adapted this recipe from The Complete Italian Vegetarian, a beautiful and extensive cookbook put out by the incredibly sedulous people at Cook’s Illustrated.  I adapted this recipe mostly because I didn’t have all the ingredients it called for – olives, cucumber, fresh oregano – so I omitted the first two and replaced the third with fresh parsley, leafed but left whole.  With the bread, chopped tomatoes, and light dressing the end-result made me think of giant tabouli – with chunks of bread replacing the bulgar. Of course, the dressing is olive oil and balsamic (or red wine vinegar), and not the lemony dressing of tabouli – although I think tabouli dressing on this salad might be interesting to try.

Ingredients:

  • a loaf of day-old (but not too hard) bread, cut into cubes (about 3 cups of cubed bread).  The recipe calls for white country bread – but I used half a loaf of multigrain and half a loaf of this incredible dark and dense pumpernickle, and it turned out deliciously.
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, diced into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 green onions, sliced into coins
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, leafed
  • black pepper
  • dried basil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Place bread, tomatoes, onions, parsley, black pepper and basil in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar. Toss until dressing is well dispersed.  Let salad sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, to allow bread to soften. Serve.

Because the dressing is minimal, and is intended to absorb into the bread, this salad keeps well in the fridge, and so is good for pot-lucks and picnics. Enjoy!

(Apologies for the terrible web-cam photograph)

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