Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad which combines day old bread, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, red onion and olive oil. A perfect summer dish for lunch or as a side. The key to making this simple salad really good is using the freshest high quality ingredients. I used ripe tomatoes from my garden, my favorite Rustic bread from Hot and Crusty, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. Let it marinate for a little while to allow the flavors to blend. The juices from the tomatoes mixed with the olive oil makes it’s own dressing. If you don’t have day old bread, lightly spray bread slices with a little olive oil, season with salt and grill on the bbq until toasted. Whole wheat Italian bread would be great too. Makes 8 cups.
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
- 8-10 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup seedless cucumber, diced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 8-10 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- extra virgin olive oil spray, I used my Misto
- 6 oz French bread or a good crusty Italian bread, sliced
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Lightly spray bread with olive oil and season with a little salt; grill over medium heat, until toasted and nicely browned.
- Remove from heat and cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil, olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Let it sit for about 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.
- Add the bread cubes and toss.
- Serve in individual bowls.