I have never sought out a panzanella salad. Last week I had half of a loaf of my homemade sourdough bread that didn’t fit into the plan that I made surrounding my CSA, so I decided to work it right into a salad I planned on making and the whole family absolutely loved it! It is fresh, crunchy, bright and surprisingly filling. The homemade sourdough is a big commitment, if that is not yet in your culinary repertoire you can always head to one of your local bakeries and grab one, you will be so happy you did! The benefits of sourdough are so great, now I will have to write a separate blog about them… coming soon! You can read a little bit about my trip to Sardinia where I learned about the benefits of sourdough Here!
I learned about panzanella during my time at The Culinary Institute of America, a Tuscan salad made from day old bread. To me, it didn’t sound so appetizing and the one time I tried one at a restaurant it was down right bad. This is why I encourage people to cook from home as much as possible. There are many great restaurants around the country, but if you go to one that is just cranking out over salted food and doesn’t really care about the quality it can ruin a whole sub group of food for you!
This recipe is great for a party. You can pre-toast the bread, pre-cut the veggies and make the dressing ahead. At the very last minute throw it all together for an impressive side. Make it vegan by leaving the cheese on the side or omit.
I am writing the recipe out as I made it, but you can sub anything you have/like anywhere in this recipe, as with most savory recipes! I plan to try this again in the fall with kale, apples, walnuts… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Will post when the time comes 🙂
Sheet Tray/Cookie Sheet
1/2 Loaf of Sourdough Bread, 1in. cubes (Can be whatever crusty loaf you have, filled one regular sized cookie sheet)
1/2 White Onion, thinly sliced
1 Large Cucumber, quartered/sliced
3 Small Peaches, large dice
1 Heirloom Tomato, large dice
Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
4 slices Provolone, cut into 1in. pieces (Most cheeses would work here!)
Handful hearty lettuce or soft herbs, chopped
4T Olive Oil
2T Red Wine Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Toast the bread cubes in a 275* oven for about 20 minutes. Time will vary depending on how crusty your bread started out, but you want it very firm without making it dark.
2. Make the dressing in a bowl/whisk or in a jar and shake.
3. At the last minute toss it all together, holding back some of the dressing in case half of it is enough. Toss and add more dressing if needed, don’t saturate the bread. Finish by seasoning to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like that flavor.