Panzanella is a traditional salad from the Tuscany region of Italy. Legend has it that it was originally created as an inventive way to use leftover bread. In fact, many recipes will often call for stale bread. You don’t want soft fresh bread, otherwise it will get soggy in the salad. Instead of using stale bread, I instead went a different route and used home made croutons for the bread factor. Hope you like my version.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Finishing Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
- 3 cups chopped Italian bread
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 stalks rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 5 vine tomatoes, chopped
- 12 thinly sliced basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Toss bread with olive oil, garlic, salt and rosemary. Bake for 20 minutes, until well toasted.
In a large bowl, combine capers, bell pepper, tomatoes, basil and toasted bread. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper for dressing. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well combined.
Pour half of dressing over salad and mix well. Add more dressing if necessary. Toss to combine.
Garnish with cheese if desired.