Panzanella – Bread Salad
Serve with Bethel Heights’ Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
In Tuscany, bread salad is a creative way to use the remains of a crusty loaf of home-made bread that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for a week. The bread is often moistened under the faucet, drained and squeezed dry, and combined with tomatoes, vinegar and oil.
Here is my version, good day one with its crunch, and perhaps even better day two. It is a work in progress. Vine-ripened tomatoes are the essential ingredient, preferably a blend of heirlooms. Enjoy!
Serves six to eight as a first course or four for a luncheon entrée
- 5 c thick country bread
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil, divided
- 2 T balsamic or part balsamic and part raspberry vinegar
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 peeled, seeded cucumber, chopped
- 5 large vine-ripe tomatoes, halved and gently squeezed to remove some seeds and excess liquid, cut in wedges
- 1 c fresh basil, shredded
- ½ c good black olives, sliced, and pits removed
- ½ c romaine lettuce, chopped
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Added olive oil to taste
- Dry one-inch thick slices of bread on the counter several hours or overnight.
- Remove most of the crusts and cut into one-inch squares.
- Mash 3 cloves of garlic with 1/3 c olive oil, add a shake of salt and black pepper.
- Toss bread with the garlic/oil mixture and toast in 400 degree oven until slightly brown. Stir once or twice.
- Allow bread to cool, and toss with remaining olive oil and vinegar.
- Set aside for four hours or preferably, overnight in the refrigerator, covered. Return to room temperature and continue.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add all remaining ingredients, reserving some basil for the top, and toss gently.