When I came across an article online from the Seattle Times about Panzanella, I knew some of my tomatoes were destined for greatness. There was a Panzanella I knew I’d love! One with lovely, slightly crispy, slightly chewy home-made “croutons” in it.
I admit to a bit of an aversion to some Panzanellas – and to soggy bread. Not a problem in this salad. We ate this to death, three of us at the house. Polished it off. Practically licked the plates clean.
The recipe said six servings and I had actually made more – I just had to use up more of our tomatoes…and we still ate it all. It’s that good. Or maybe we’re just piggy piggies. Or both, lol!! It was pretty much our meal. There’s a lot of olive oil in this but the saving grace – it’s the good kind of oil, full of Omega-3.
The dressing is fantastic, too; a bit of a departure using Balsamic, but we loved it. I made a few slight adaptions to it, but in the future this is one I’ll double for another salad later in the week. The combo of earthy Balsamic and zippy Red Wine Vinegars -ah-maze-ing!
Ya just have to use good tomatoes and you’ve gotta use a good bread. A nice crusty Italian loaf, or lacking that and not wanting to take a trip to the bakery, my store’s “take and bake” French baguettes stood in. Here’s where you’ll want to pull out the “good” olive oil and Balsamic, but from there you can add all kinds of things to your Panzanella. We kept it simple…
Updated Panzanella Salad
- Total Time: 25 minutes + sit time
- Yield: 6 to 7 servings 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: American
Toasted Bread Croutons:
- 4 cups of 1-inch bread cubes cut from a loaf of leftover rustic French or Italian bread (roughly half of a large loaf)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic
- 2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoons Dijon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 or 5 grinds black pepper (a bit less than 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 or 4 medium to large tomatoes, cut into 1” cubes
- 1/2 red onion, cut in half then thinly sliced
- 2 bell peppers, cut into 1” chunks
- 4 to 6 basil leaves, in ribbons, divided
- Toasted Bread Croutons
Toasted Bread Croutons:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Toss the bread cubes in 2 tablespoons olive oil; add more oil if needed to coat the bread cubes thoroughly without drenching them.
Spread the cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the bread is crispy like a crouton. Turn several times, adding a bit more olive oil halfway through if the bread doesn’t seem well coated.
Let the bread cool.
Make the vinaigrette: Mince garlic as finely as possible, then smash it against the cutting board with the side of the knife. Place in a bowl with the vinegar, mustard and salt, and pepper.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until all of the oil is incorporated. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Let vinaigrette sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before adding to the salad.
Mix tomatoes, onion and bell peppers in a salad bowl. Add half the basil and a little salt. Add 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to salad, toss and let sit for 15 minutes.
Add the bread cubes and the remaining vinaigrette, mix everything together and let sit for at least an hour or up to four hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Right before serving, top the salad with the remaining basil leaves cut into ribbons.
Keywords: Balsamic Vinegar, Bell Peppers, Bread, Croutons, Italian, Panzanella, Red onion, Salad, Salad Dressings, Tomatoes
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 29 g||45 %|
|Saturated Fat 3 g||15 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 16 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 296 mg||12 %|
|Potassium 31 mg||1 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 8 g||3 %|
|Dietary Fiber 1 g||6 %|
|Sugars 2 g|
|Protein 0 g||0 %|
|Vitamin A||76 %|
|Vitamin C||26 %|
I’ll be sharing this recipe on Fiesta Friday #138, Angie’s Link Party – and I’m hosting this week with the incomparable Johanna of French Gardener Dishes. I hope you’ll join us there as well as on Throwback Thursday, a weekly endeavor that includes myself and a couple of great blogger/friends!