Traditional recipes

Tuscan Bread Salad (Panzanella)

Tuscan Bread Salad (Panzanella)


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This is the perfect summer salad. You can add any fresh vegetable to this salad and it goes great with any Italian recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of day-old Italian bread, cubed
  • 4 anchovy fillets, cut into large pieces
  • 8 large cherry tomatoes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 Teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon capers, drained
  • Handful of basil, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Summary

  • ½ large loaf rustic Italian bread
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 large cucumber - peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper - seeded, ribs removed, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, torn, or more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tear, chop, or crumble bread into small pieces and place into a large bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables and mix with the bread. Add vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and basil leaves. Toss thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before serving.


Panzanella: A Tuscan bread and tomato salad

Boring salad eaters, this recipe is not for you!

Now, if your heart flutters at the sound of bread and juicy, summer tomatoes, then hi! Welcome to the best panzanella salad you will ever make.

But there’s a catch! You must make this salad NOW, while tomatoes are at their peak.

Will it work in the middle of winter, when the panzanella craving hits but tomatoes are not as amazing? Sure. But it won’t be as life changing as it is during tomato season!

So run – don’t walk – to your local store, farmer’s market or garden, and grab all the tomatoes you can carry! You can thank me later.

In this post, you will learn:


Tuscan Panzanella Bread Salad

Posted By Savita

Panzanella, a combination of crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, flavor-bomb dressing and rustic bread to soak in all savoury flavors!!

You guys, this bread salad.. I mean, Tuscan Panzanella, is a flavor bomb! I just can't stop, won't stop eating it whole spring-summer season.

Salads are so my love-affair whole year but specially in spring-summer season.. when fresh vegetables, such red bell peppers, tomatoes, greens, and spring onions are in season.. I crave for crunchy salads more than ever!

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad usually made with tomato and day-old stale bread with lemon olive oil based dressing. It is mostly enjoyed in summers since tomatoes are most juicy and sweet in that season. However, I also like to add fresh bell peppers in this salad for some crunch and load of vitamins. Plus, salad becomes more substantial too.

Whenever I have some Italian bread in hand, I turn it into classic Tuscan Italian favorite Panzanella. This is a quick recipe which you can enjoy even without bread, however addition of bread really adds the rustic Tuscany touch.

I can imagine, this Italian Bread Salad must be a great way to use day-old stale bread. I, however, buy a crusty Italian bread loaf just for this salad. You might think, bread will get soggy soaked in dressing?!

Well, actually that's why day-old bread is used. And my idea of using rustic Italian Bread loaf resonates the same theme. What I like to do is: toast the bread chunks in oven, or in a saute pan until bread is crusty, dried, brown but not burnt. If you thinking croutons. That's not be wrong. It is just, these are little hard croutons. Or I should say, croutons toasted a little longer.

Honestly, I did not plan to share this recipe today. but when I sat on couch to fix pictures for next week's recipes.. I just could not resist but to change my schedule and bring it to you sooner.

I have a similar recipe on blog with Mediterranean Greek flavors - Greek Dakos Tomato Salad - bread toast and tomato salad with olives and feta cheese. Do check out, it is really very very good.

PS: This recipe was originally posted in August 2013. Today, I have updated the pictures, and way of preparation (a little bit) to give you updated current style of serving Panzanella Bread Salad.


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Panzanella: Tuscan Bread Salad Recipe

Panzanellais a very simple, moist and fresh bread salad from Tuscany. Panzanella is a great summer recipe because you don’t have to turn on the oven – no cooking is required. Crunchiness doesn’t come from the bread but from the cucumbers and onions. Its fresh ingredients (and a little water) rejuvenate day-old bread, while keeping your house as cool as possible in the middle of the summer. This is the heart of this fresh salad!

I have seen several panzanella recipes around the internet that recommend toasting the bread or making croutons or perfect bread cubes, but I don’t. You shouldn’t have to – stale bread is already hard! Every time I’ve eaten panzanella deep in the heart of Tuscany, or made it myself, no one turns on an oven, and the only tool you need with the bread is your own hands.

Let me repeat that: you don’t need to toast your bread for panzanella! No croutons, please.

The most authentic bread to use is (unsalted) Tuscan bread. Since it’s made without salt, it took some getting used to when I lived there. If you’ve never tried unsalted bread, do. You’ll notice something’s “wrong” immediately. If you don’t have Tuscan bread on hand, you’ll want bread that’s not going to get soggy/mushy but will crumble when moistened.

Do you have a really good bottle of extra virgin olive oil sitting in your back cupboard you’ve been afraid to open but were waiting for a special occasion? This is the time to open it. The better the olive oil, the fresher the basil, the sweeter the tomatoes – each ingredient will make this salad more delicious.

The list of ingredients for the salad is quite short. What’s “missing” from this recipe? Nothing! Olives, cheese, capers, balsamic vinegar, bell peppers…you don’t need them! Of course, after you try traditional traditional panzanella the first time, you may want to add some more ingredients – but keep that oven off!

Panzanella Salad Recipe

Note: Remember that the bread should be the star of this dish, so keep its quantity higher than the other ingredients. Using unsalted Tuscan bread requires a little extra salt be put into the salad – make sure you taste it after adding the olive oil and vinegar to determine how much salt to add.

Day-old bread (unsalted Tuscan is most authentic)
Cucumber, peeled
Tomatoes (Roma/San Marzano/plum varieties suggested)
Basil leaves
Red Onion
Olive oil & vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Suggestions for serving two people: 4-5 slices of day-old bread (1/2 loaf), 1 cucumber, 4 (Roma / small) tomatoes (or 1-2 large), 5-10 basil leaves, 1/4 red onion.

  1. Take the day-old bread, and lightly moisten it under the faucet. It should be moistened all the way through. If it’s too wet, gently squeeze excess water from the bread with your hands and set aside while chopping vegetables. The bread should crumble, not clump/collapse or get soggy.
  2. Shred the bread into a large salad bowl. I like to keep some larger pieces of bread in my panzanella, but you can crumble the bread down until there are very fine pieces, or “breadcrumbs” that resemble more couscous.
  3. Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes into pieces and add them to the bowl. Thinly slice a red onion and chiffonade the basil (or shred it with your hands).
  4. Add vinegar and olive oil and mix completely (start with a small amount of each, like 1 T. of vinegar and 3 T. of olive oil) and add more to taste. Taste before adding salt and pepper.
  5. The salad can be served immediately or chilled for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.

Have you had traditional panzanella? How do you make panzanella at home?

Some other links that embrace the traditional “panmolle” (soft bread) concept:


Panzanella (bread salad)

Nothing is wasted in an Italian kitchen. This salad recipe uses stale bread, which soaks up the flavours of the dressing while retaining a slightly crunchy texture – it is incredibly yummy, especially if you use a good loaf of bread. Proper ciabatta should be crusty on the outside and not too doughy or airy inside.

Preparation

Cooking

Skill level

Ingredients

  • 1 day-old ciabatta loaf, crusts cut off, cut into cubes
  • 300 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • ½ bunch basil
  • salt and pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Bake the bread in a warm oven until golden brown and dry. Leave to cool.

Place the oil, vinegar and garlic in a bowl, add the bread and toss together. Add the tomato and onion and tear in the basil leaves. Toss again, season to taste and serve immediately.


Tuscan panzanella, tomato bread salad

Breakfast is universally acknowledged as one of the main meals of the day: milk, coffee, fruit juices, cookies, brioches, and maybe yoghurt, home made jam and, why not, some pizza.

This is nowadays breakfast. In the past, when my grandma was a child, it was totally different. They used to have panzanella(Tuscan bread salad) for breakfast. I love panzanella, because it’s refreshing, light and good, a summer dish… for lunch or dinner, not for breakfast!

Panzanella was summer breakfast, made with leftover bread. During the winter, they used to have polenta to start the day in a glorious way! It used to be adult people’s breakfast, grandma used to have milk instead – since they had a cow and a goat in the farm. Men who went to work in the fields at dawn made the panzanella in a lunch box and brought it with them in a basket. When breakfast time came, they used to eat the panzanella drinking some home made red wine.

Nowadays, panzanella is a refreshing first course to have during the first summer days.


Tuscan Panzanella

This Tuscan Bread Salad, known as Panzanella, is a great way to use up stale bread in the summer (when making stuffing is the last thing on your mind).

It is super easy to make, and bursts with flavors and textures of toasted bread, bright tomatoes, sweet peppers and crisp red onions.

The bread becomes beautiful toasted croutons that soak up the light balsamic dressing.

We like to add our bread just before serving our panzanella, so that the croutons add a nice burst of texture to the salad.



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