Summer Panzanella Salad Recipe
By Marlo Colletto (TC3 Farm CSA Member)
Simple, satisfying, and exotic enough to seem impressive, Panzanella Salad is the perfect vehicle for summer veggies. Endlessly variable, the building blocks of this rustic Italian dish include grilled bread, tomatoes, basil, vinaigrette, and your choice of veggies. So far I’ve tried it with cucumbers, avocados, and even corn. In the future I want to make a version with grilled zucchini, peppers, and eggplant. I’ve also varied the vinegars in my dressing, using either apple cider, balsamic, or red wine—all have worked well. What I’ve written below is a simplified version incorporating cukes, basil, garlic and tomatoes from an early August CSA share. As always, think of this is a starting point only. Some recipes include Dijon mustard or capers in the dressing, this is your call. Cheese also makes a great addition. You’ll see parmesan in my variation but cubes of feta or fresh mozzarella would make nice choices as well. Improvise away!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut bread into rustic cubes and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Spread bread on a baking sheet and slide it into the oven when it reaches temp. Bake the bread for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
- While it’s baking, mix together the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and basil in a large bowl.
- When bread is cool, add to veggie mixture and toss with dressing. Grate parmesan over salad and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
For bonus points (if you have the patience) let the salad sit for 20 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld and the bread to soften slightly as it absorbs the dress. Enjoy!
- I loaf dense crusty bread like ciabatta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cucumbers
- 3-4 cups ripe tomatoes chopped
- Small onion, finely chopped
- 1 bunch basil (chop large leaves; leave small ones whole)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan