Panzanella is an old Tuscan recipe, originally served as a way to use up stale or leftover ingredients. The classic recipe is comprised of stale bread, tomatoes and onions, but we’ve created our own twist here – designed to highlight the best end-of-summer produce!
In lieu of stale bread we’ve toasted up bread cubes to make crispy croutons that will soak up the dressing and soften slightly.
We then created a salad of purple peppers, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and fresh basil. Torn fresh mozzarella rounds things out beautifully!
Be sure to start this recipe ahead of time, so that the croutons have a chance to absorb the vinaigrette and soften up a bit.
This is a perfect dish for entertaining or bringing to a potluck, as it actually gets better the longer it sits!
- 6 cups cubed bread from a French or Italian loaf
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise
- 2 – 3 heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if large
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 – 4 purple bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Large handful of basil leaves
Make the croutons: pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the bread cubes, olive oil and salt and pepper in a large bowl or plastic bag – toss to combine. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or till deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely.
In a large serving bowl whisk the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When the bread cubes have cooled add the cucumber, tomatoes, mozzarella and peppers to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat well. Add the bread and toss again. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add to the salad just before serving.