Wednesday, August 29, 2012

While the tomatoes are going wild...

Everybody must make Panzanella Salad.  What the heck is that?  It's also known as Bread Salad.  What the heck is that?  Pretty much my favorite thing to eat...Ever.  It might sound a little....strange....but it is amazing. 

I've adapted this recipe from America's Test Kitchen.  It's a little fiddly...but totally worth it.  Take the time to do all the steps and you will have a dish that you will make every August through October....possibly every weekend.  If not multiple times per week.  If not daily.  Depending on how your tomatoes are growing and if your young devour them all before you get to them.

Panzanella Salad
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

6 Cups rustic/crusty bread (I use a crusty bread with garlic pieces baked in and it is amazing)
8 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (You will split this up between two steps)
As many cherry tomatoes as you can pick...or approximately 1 1/2 lbs.
3 Tbl. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Cucumber, peeled and halved
1 Shallot, sliced
Optional: 1/4 C Chopped fresh basil (I usually omit this, simply because I like the garlic flavor from my bread to really shine)

1. Heat oven to 400 F

2. Cut your bread into 1 inch pieces.  Place on rimmed cookie sheet.  Pour 2 Tbl of the olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt over the bread cubes.  Toss.  Bake until they just start turning golden.  Approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  (mine took 19)  Stir half way through.   Remove from oven and set aside until cool. 

****I normally do this step in the late morning of the day I know I'm making this dish.  That way I know it will have enough time to cool and I don't have to worry about it.****

3. Cut tomatoes in half if they are cherry-sized or smaller if they are large tomatoes.  Place in bowl and toss with 1/2 tsp salt.  Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and place over a bowl and allow juice to drain for approx. 15 minutes.  ****Do not throw away the tomato juice.  You probably won't get much, but you are going to use it.****

4. Take cucumber and remove the seeds.  ***you've really got to watch the sog factor with this salad.  The seeds will just make it too soggy.  Get rid of them.  It's easy.  Just slide a spoon along the seeds and you can scoop them out.  Easy.  Thinly slice. 

****Removing the cucumber seeds reminds me of Pimento Cheese Stuffed Pickles  Not one of my more successful dishes.  But it was fun and I had to remove the pickle seeds.****

5. Whisk the remaining 6 Tbl of oil, red wine vinegar and some pepper into the reserved tomato juice.

6.  Toss your toasted bread, cucumber and shallot together with the vinaigrette you've just made.  Taste to make sure it has enough salt.  I typically have to add some.

7.  Serve and eat pretty much right away.  You can let the bread sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid, but don't let it sit for more than 30 minutes or it can get too soggy.

The flavors are so good.  The vinegar really adds a tangy punch to it.  The vegetables are perfect and the bread...oh yum...a bit chewy, but softened by the dressing.  This is food love right here.

I forgot to take a picture right after I had tossed everything you get the leftovers that had been sitting for a few hours.  But, it gives you an idea of what you're after.

Please make this as it is so good.

****edited 9-3-12****

I made it again this last weekend.  So I decided to put in a picture of this salad looking at it's tasty best...besides missing the cucumbers.  It was still good, even without em. 

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Ohhh I love Panzanella! I have made it a couple of times this summer and I'll try yours before the tomatoes are done! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Danni, I'm so glad you love it. Because, well...I LOVE IT! It really is the best. A salad...made of bread. Doesn't get any better than that.

  2. This looks good Heather - I've never had anything like this before. I'm going to try this out xxx

    1. Nat...You have got to make this. But I would say wait until you have some really good home-grown vine-ripened tomatoes. Winter tomatoes aren't worth the effort if you ask me? Please make it and let me know what you think.

    2. Not sure why I put a ? after one of those sentences. Try and ignore it. :)

  3. I just pinned your recipe, Heather! I've never heard of this before, now all I want to do is make it! It looks and sounds so good! What a yummy post!

    1. Mary, this one is so tasty. You've got to make it!


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