The classic Panzanella salad was created by Italians to use up leftover bread, but I think it is so good, that I actually buy bread just to make it:) I tried this combination of the classic panzanella and the Insalata Caprise salads (a favorite of mine–recipe here) last week and it was fantastic! The crunchy-on-the-outside-and-chewy-in-the-middle homemade croutons that perfectly soak up the tasty vinaigrette, the garden vegetables, and fresh mozzarella came together for the perfect summer dinner! Obviously, this salad is very flexible. Throw in whatever vegetables you like. Sweet pepper would be wonderful. You can swap out the fresh mozzarella for Parmesan or whatever cheese you love. Also–you could try different vinegars in the dressing to change the flavor a bit. For fun twist next time, I think I will add some crisp bacon for a Panzanella BLT salad! My boys would love that!
I can not believe that our summer is coming to an end. My boys (all 5) start school next week!! I am a little sad, but we have had a great summer, so I can’t complain. I finally posted all about our trip to Boston, and Palmayra New York on Melandboys here and here. Have you been to those places? It was a fantastic trip. How has your summer been? Has it gone by too fast or not fast enough?
Well, I have to admit that I am not wanting to say goodbye to the slow and easy days of summer! At least we have all the wonderful garden bounty to enjoy for awhile:) This dish is definitely summer in a bowl, don’t you think?! Hope you enjoy!
submitted by Melanie~The Sisters Cafe
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3 TB olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
15 large Basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 TB White Balsamic vinegar (you could use regular–it will just darken the dressing)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat tossing frequently, for 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned. Add more oil if needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, mozzarella, and basil. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about a half an hour for the flavors to blend.
**A few recipe notes–My basil plant died this year–so I used that fresh chopped basil in a tube. Have you ever seen that over in the produce section by the fresh herbs? I love it and keep a tube in my fridge all year long. It is a great find. It tastes great, but isn’t as pretty as freshly chopped leaves. Also, I was out of purple onion so I used a sweet white one.
Recipe Source: Adapted a Barefoot Contessa recipe