If you're scratching your head to see if you've read that right, you did! (and there is such a thing).
Bread salad, or "panzanella" is such a delicious concoction of fresh ingredients that makes amazing use of day-old bread. Leave it to the Italians to come up with something so creative and outstanding, panzanella is a total treat of a side dish and this time of year screams the ingredients that eat best within it.
6 (slightly heaping) cups cubed ciabatta bread, or other rustic bread (roughly 10 ounces cut to 1 – 1 1/2” cubes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Black pepper
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes (I like “pearl” or “campari” tomatoes) cut into bite-size wedges or pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup sliced roasted red pepper (from a jar)
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh “pearl” mozzarella (or torn up pieces of a larger boule of fresh mozzarella)
- 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly drizzle the bread cubes with the 1/4 cup olive oil, and add in a good pinch of salt and pepper, and toss to combine; turn out onto the baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until golden and crisp; remove and allow to cool. While the bread cubes are cooling, prepare your vinaigrette ingredients by placing them into a mason jar and shaking vigorously; set aside. Once the cubed bread is cooled, place your tomatoes, parsley, sliced red onion, sliced roasted red pepper, olives and capers into a large bowl, and add a pinch or two of salt; then, drizzle in the vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add in the cooled toasted bread and gently fold that in to incorporate it into the tomato/vinaigrette mixture, then turn out onto a platter to rest/chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, top with torn basil leaves and the pearl mozzarella, and serve with some extra olive oil to drizzle over top as a finisher.
Credit: The Cozy Apron