Panzanella, with Style

Panzanella traces its origin to the 16th century. Italian cooks, then and now, try not to waste anything. So, yesterday’s bread (or even the day before) was put to good use and combined with olive oil, vinegar, and seasonal vegetables from the garden. We suggest using a high quality, extra-virgin Italian olive oil.

ingredients

  • 4 ounces stale ciabatta, Italian bread or baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher, Himalayan, or other finishing salt
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters & seeded
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 – 3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced cucumber, seeded
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

step 1
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bake until bread cubes are pale golden brown at the edges, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool on separate pan or in large bowl.

step 2
Cut seeded tomatoes into bite-size pieces, and transfer to a large bowl. Add sliced red onions, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to coat, and set aside. (For best results, “shock” sliced red onion in ice water, drain and pat dry before adding to tomatoes; this will keep them crisp and make them sweeter).

step 3
In medium bowl, combine remaining tablespoon red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in cucumbers, celery, basil and parsley.

step 4
Add toasted bread cubes and cucumber mixture to the tomato mixture and toss well. Let sit for 1 to 4 hours before serving. Toss with a little more olive olive oil, vinegar and more salt if needed, to taste, just before serving.

We suggest pairing Panzanella with a wine such as a crisp Rosé, Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio. If you’d like to make this a one-dish meal, try adding grilled shrimp — in fact, Panzanella is a great side dish when served with anything grilled. Buon appetito!

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