Panzanella is a traditional Italian salad made with day-old bread, tomatoes and basil. The stale bread is perfect for toasting and slicing into croutons, then moistened by red wine vinaigrette. Ripe summer tomatoes bursting with sweet juices make this rustic salad a true celebration of summer. Serve panzanella at room temperature, or even better, enjoy it al fresco.
Ingredients for the salad
- 12 ounces sourdough bread (or other artisanal loaf) cut into 1-inch slices (about 4 slices)
- Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
- 1/2 basil leaves
Ingredients for the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Heat a grill to high. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and toast them on the grill, turning every couple of minutes, until golden brown. Remove the bread from the grill and rub each slice with the garlic clove.
Cut the bread into one- inch cubes and place them in a large salad bowl. Cut the tomatoes into bite size chunks or slices and add them to the bowl, along with the basil leaves. Toss the ingredients.
Make the vinaigrette. Pour the red wine vinegar into a medium bowl, adding the minced shallot, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Leave the shallots to soften in the vinegar for 5 minutes. Next, gradually drizzle the olive oil into the vinegar, while continuously whisking, until the vinaigrette has come together. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.
Serves six as a side salad