Panzanella, an Italian bread salad, is one of my favorite go-to recipes in the summertime, and it made its first seasonal appearance last week. Using tomatoes that I bought from the farmer’s market and basil fresh from our garden, I love eating something that incorporates just-picked ingredients, especially when they’re ours! Some years I have better luck than others, but this year, basil has been growing fast and furious … so much so that I’m going to have to start freezing it soon just to keep up.
The Panzanella version that I usually go for is this Tyler Florence one from his Eat This Book cookbook; it’s such a great way to celebrate summer. The picture of the recipe was one I took the first time I made it. Recently, the folks at San Pellegrino asked if they could use my photo on their website (see screenshot below, and larger version here), and I readily agreed. It makes me giggle to think that my salad from New Jersey is on their website on a page that talks about Italy’s old world charm, but it is absolutely flattering nonetheless.
Haven’t tried Panzanella yet? What are you waiting for?
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence’s cookbook, Eat This Book.
1 French boule, or loaf of round Tuscan bread, torn into bite-size pieces (I use a baguette)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3 anchovy fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 roasted red bell peppers, shredded by hand
1/2 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1/2 bunch of basil, torn into largish pieces
1/4 cup celery leaves, torn into largish pieces
Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the bread chunks with 1/4 cup oil until the bread is wet with the oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and back until the bread begins to brown, about 10 minutes. While the bread is going, make the dressing. Use a large knife to chop and mash the garlic, anchovies, and salt to a paste on a cutting board. Scrape it into a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and stir together. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and gently stir. Taste for seasoning. Finally, add the toasted bread and toss it all together. Taste it and season one last time with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings