We've got the perfect recipe for a potluck, barbecue, or picnic: panzanella salad. It's simple to make, is served at room temperature, and covers a lot of dietary restrictions (it's vegetarian and dairy-free).
This delicious dish originated inTuscany, where it has been a staple since the 1600s. In fact, it wasn't until recently that the dish was tomato-based – it used to be all about the onions! This recipe still calls on onions a bit, but there's no question that fresh, juicy tomatoes are the star here.
And don't forget – the bread is key in this salad. Fresh bread might be too fragile, which is why day-old, stale bread that is nice and crunchy is perfect for soaking up the vinaigrette.
- 2 cups red grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups yellow grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 cups day-old crusty Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned (fresh or roasted)
- 1 hot house cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle them with about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then toss everything together until the bread is evenly coated.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet and put the cubes onto the sheet. Bake them for about 7-10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Then, set them aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the bread, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and basil. In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Then, add this oil mixture to the large bowl and toss evenly. Salt and pepper again to taste.
- Let everything marinate, covered, for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes