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Tuscan Panzanella Salad

19 Jun








With the temperatures flirting with 90 degrees, I think it’s safe to say that summer is just about here!  The tomatoes this time of the year are so flavorful and abundant.  When the weather gets hot, I don’t like to eat something to heavy. So when my MIL invited us over this weekend for Father’s Day I volunteered to make a salad.  We had a lot of tomatoes on hand and I had never made a Panzanella Salad before, so I figured this was the best time to try it!  Well this salad is DELICIOUS!!  So easy to make, so flavorful, so yummy!

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
3 medium size vine ripe tomatoes, cut into bit sized pieces
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into small pieces
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup EVOO, more to taste if needed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, more to taste if needed
Sea Salt and Pepper
1-2 small Ciabatta sticks cut into small cube shape pieces (I used Garlic Ciabatta Sticks; yielded approximately 2 cups when cut up)


In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and torn basil.  Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat evenly.

** Don’t add bread into the salad until you are ready to serve, as the bread will get a bit soggy over time from the liquid marinade **
Cut or tear the bread into bite sized pieces.  Place half of the bread in a wide shallow serving bowl.  Spoon on half of the tomato mixture.  Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. 

Toss the salad, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and vinaigrette.  If the bread is dry, add a little more olive oil.  Garnish the salad with a few basil leaves just before serving.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma; Essentials of Italian 2007