A million different people have made panzanella a million different ways. I hadn’t intended to post this in fear of “beating a dead horse”, but it was just so tasty that I figured, what the heck….what’s one more beating? But you’ve got to be quick, because summer is coming to a close and you won’t have garden-fresh tomatoes for much longer…
So I’ll make it short and sweet (two adjectives that also happen to describe yours truly if I do say so myself!).
There’s just no sense in making this summer salad if you don’t have beautifully ripe, in-season veggies. So harvest those home-grown tomatoes!
The ratio of stale bread to veggies I used is about 1:1. Also, you should use a rustic country-style loaf of bread.
- a few really ripe red tomatoes, cut into large dice
- a handful of cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
- a couple small, or one large cucumber (peeled only if it’s been waxed), cut into large dice
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thinly
- a handful of arugula
- red wine vinegar
- extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- *stale bread, torn or cut into cubes
Toss the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion in a medium bowl with a liberal pinch of salt and a couple tablespoons red wine vinegar. Allow to macerate for at least 15 minutes. They will begin to release their juices.
Give the veggies a stir and add a few glugs of olive oil. Remember that you’ll need enough vinaigrette combined with the vegetable juices to fully dress the salad, even after the bread has been added- and the bread will really soak it up!
Place the stale bread in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable mixture evenly over the bread and gently toss it all together. Taste the bread for seasoning and add more oil, vinegar, or salt if necessary. Allow the salad to sit and soak up the juices for at least 15 minutes.
Just before serving, toss with the arugula and sprinkle with black pepper. Yum!
*If you don’t have stale bread, simply cut or tear your bread into bite-sized pieces and place it on the counter or in the oven with just the pilot-light on for a few hours.