I mentioned on Sunday that it was salad week, so I thought I would throw another delicious recipe into the mix just because it’s summer and all. Panzanella is an Italian salad, traditionally from Tuscany, made from stale bread, tomatoes and other local ingredients. What makes this salad so refreshing is the combination of fresh fruits and herbs added to the bowl, creating one delicious meal. Unlike most salads with croutons, or toasted cubes of bread, the dried bread in a Panzanella soaks up some of the juices beforehand, from its partners in the bowl, creating one textural sensation.
Fresh tomatoes and peaches are the two fruits of choice in this recipe because their sweetness provides a nice balance mixed with torn aromatic basil and some baby spinach. The highlights of this salad are definitely the fruits, and the chewy cubes of bread that become more tender with time. I prefer to slice and dice my tomatoes and peaches, and then let them hang-out with the toasted bread for a bit, before I toss in greens or vinaigrette of any kind.
The balsamic vinaigrette adds the perfect acidity to the bowl of salad, and when tossed, becomes another exciting note of flavor. This is definitely one salad that you can eat all on its own because it’s so hardy, but a piece of grilled fish on the side would make a great accompaniment for a little added protein.
1/2 loaf ciabatta or other rustic bread, cubed
2 small peaches, sliced
1 large ripe tomato
bunch of basil
2 cups baby spinach leaves
salt & pepper
olive oil for baking
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 clove minced garlic
pinch of salt & pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add cubed bread to sheet pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bread cubes are golden brown. Remove and cool.
- In a large bowl, add cooled bread cubes, peaches and tomatoes, toss. Let rest in bowl for 10 minutes.
- In a small jar with fitted lid, shake together all Vinaigrette ingredients, set aside.
- Remove most of basil from stems, and tear apart leaves, placing in bowl with bread and fruits. Add spinach and vinaigrette, toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss again. Serve on plates immediately, and top with any remaining basil. Enjoy!