It’s spring and my garden is already well underway and I just cannot wait for it to be in full swing. I am really already just that anxious!
Panzanella Salad is one of my favorite summer salads but this week I was shopping and found a carton of heirloom grape tomatoes and just couldn’t resist buying them. I actually pack this salad for dinner about 3 times a week in season and eat it at least as many times for lunch throughout the summer. This year, my basil is already doing well so it was a great luxury to be able to walk out into the garden and pick some fresh basil for my salad. From what I’ve read about companion planting, if all goes right, my tomatoes will be sweet and delicious! I absolutely cannot wait!
In case you are wondering, Panzanella Salad is a tomato-bread salad that uses also cucumbers and red onion in a vinaigrette. Generally, the bread used is day-old, stale bread that is slightly hardened but we almost never have stale bread laying around so I cut my fresh bread into cubes, and toasted it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The beauty of the stale bread is that when you add your vinaigrette, it does not become mushy as you’d expect. It does, however, soak up some of the glory and just become chewy and delicious!
- 1 loaf Italian Bread
- 1 whole English Cucumber, Halved & Sliced
- 2 lbs Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 whole Red Onion, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt And Pepper
- 12 whole Basil Leaves, chopped
- 1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
- extra Olive Oil, for drizzling
- If you do not have stale bread, preheat the oven to 275° F. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, arrange on a baking sheet, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes to slightly crisp the bread without toasting it. Remove it from the oven and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine bread, cucumber, tomatoes, and onion.
- In a small jar, shake together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad ingredients, tossing gently. Add basil and shredded Parmesan.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.