Panzanella is a Tuscan dish that dates back to the 16th century when the Italian poet, Bronzino, writes of toast, onions and cucumbers served with oil and vinegar. Later, in the 1900’s, tomatoes were introduced. They since have lived happily ever after.
Chef Steffani Adaska
5- 6 cups 3/4” cubed pieces (cut or torn) Crusty Tuscan Loaf or Country Bread
Good Quality, Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling bread
3 large, ripe tomatoes, large dice (or 3 cups Baby or Grape Tomatoes, cut in half)
1 hothouse cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, cut into thinly sliced moons
25 large basil leaves, roughly torn
1/3 cup Caperberries, drained, stemmed, cut in half
1 C. whole pitted Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar
1/2 cup good quality, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle bread cubes with olive oil and season with Kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 min. Toss around and bake about 5-10 minutes more until the bread takes on a little golden color on each side.
While the bread is doing its thing, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, black olives and caperberries in a large bowl. When the bread is ready, add to vegetables.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle this over the bread mixture and toss well. Taste it. Season liberally with more salt and pepper (if needed). Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to meld.
CHEF’S NOTE: In addition to being fast and easy to put together, it’s very healthy, economical, and lasts for several days in the refrigerator.