If you have never experienced the amazing flavor burst of what is Panzanella Salad I feel bed for you. It is the taste of summer in Italian cooking. It is one of the reasons I grow cucumbers and so many tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes go into my homemade sauce or my salsa, but the rest are reserved for tomato sandwiches and Panzanella Salad. It is a simple side salad with few ingredients but oh so much taste.
One of the ingredients for this dish is traditionally supposed to be day old bread. I am lucky most times if I remember to take butter from the fridge the night before baking to get it room temperature. I surely am not remembering to put bread out a day in advance. Instead, my recipe calls for a hard Italian roll cut up and baked for a bit in the oven to make it resemble day old bread. I guarantee nothing is lost with this small change. Chop up the Italian rolls into bite size pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 300F for about a half hour. Let them cool and they will be ready to go.
The only bad thing about this salad s the waiting. After putting it all together, you need to wait for the juices to marinate and infiltrate the bread.
But I guarantee if you can make it through the wait period of two hours, you will be blessed with a gift from above. I promise the bread won’t be soggy, even if it sounds like it would be. Trust me.
- 1 loaf Italian bread
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 cucumber (halved, seeded, cut into slices
- 5 large tomatoes (cut into bite sized chunks)
- ½ onion (sliced thin)
- ⅓ c olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- handful fresh basil leaves (chopped fine)
- 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Chop the Italian bread into 1-inch chunks, spread on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with the garlic powder. Bake for a half hour, remove from oven and let cool. This is the time I use to prep the veggies to the specifications noted above in the ingredients.
- Toss together the bread, cucumber, tomatoes, and onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the tomato/bread mix and stir well, adding in the basil and parmesan as you mix. Cover with a towel once ingredients are well incorporated, and allow to sit for 2 hours before serving.