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Panzanella

Nothing beats a really good Panzanella, or more simply known as bread salad, when late summer tomatoes are at their peak and folks are enjoying the last of the warm weather eating. This recipe will serve 4-5 as a side and gets better the longer it sits. We recommend a crusty Sourdough Boule that has had a few days to firm up. 

Panzanella 
~ adapted from Serious Eats

2 pounds mixed tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning 
6-8 cups of chopped sourdough bread cubes (roughly 1/2 a loaf)
1/2 large red onion, coarsely chopped (cut into similar size pieces as the bread)
2 tbsp olive oil for the bread
Pinch of salt for the bread
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp minced fresh shallot
1 medium clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Optional: Add fresh burrata to garnish this salad just before serving, and take it to the next level!

Place tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature to drain, tossing occasionally, while you toast the bread. Drain for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the barbecue until high, about 15 minutes. Leave it on high. Alternatively, preheat oven to 350°F if you are using the oven. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes and chopped the red onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle salt on them. Transfer to a pan that can be used on the barbecue, or onto a rimmed baking sheet if you are using the oven. Cook on the barbecue, covered until crisp and firm but not browned, about 15 minutes, checking in 5-minute intervals to turn the bread cubes. Remove from barbecue or oven and let cool.

Remove colander with tomatoes from the bowl with tomato juice. Place the colander with tomatoes in the sink. Add the olive oil, shallot, garlic, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt and vinegar to the bowl with tomato juice. Season the dressing to taste with pepper. Combine toasted bread and onions, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl. Add the basil leaves, reserving some for garnish. Toss everything to coat and season with salt and pepper as desired. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving, tossing occasionally until dressing is completely absorbed by the bread. 

This salad is best when made in the morning and enjoyed in the evening. Leave it out at room temperature (lightly covered) to allow the flavours to mingle and the juices to really mix together. 

1 comment

Patrick

I absolutely love panzanella, and I use the Serious Eats recipe too. One comment would be that browning the bread cubes makes them over the top delicious. I toss them in a bowl with olive oil and salt and then brown them on the grill or in a big cast iron pan on the stove.

Keep up the good work!

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