Panzanella Tuscan Bread Salad
Presented by Melt
- 2 cups vine-ripe tomatoes, quartered and sliced 1/4-inch
- 1 cup seedless cucumbers, quartered and sliced 1/8-inch
- 1/2 cups celery, halved and cut 1/8-inch thick
- 1/8 cup red onion, medium dice
- 2 T scallions, sliced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T red wine vinegar + more as needed
- 1 cup stale (dried) bread cubes*
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. fig balsamic vinegar
Mix together tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, red onions, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Let mixture stand for 1 1/2 hours. Add olive oil, vinegar, and bread cubes; toss well. Add chopped basil and shaved Parmigiano. Season to taste and add additional vinegar as needed. After mixing panzanella, allow to rest at least 1 hour before serving.
*This simple, rustic salad originated as a way to use stale bread—food was too precious to be wasted! Although crusty Italian bread is traditional, French, sourdough, or other similar styles work well in the dish. If the bread is still fresh and soft, place the cubes in a moderate oven for 10 to 15 minutes to dry. Croutons may also be substituted.