Saturday, July 21, 2012

Panzanella (Tomato and Bread Salad)

It's the time of year when our gardens start yielding that bountiful harvest of homegrown tomatoes. It starts with just a few, then it turns into a veritable the point that your kitchen is awash in those beautiful tomatoes. What to do? If you've got luscious, ripe tomatoes, here's the salad for you. It's fast, it's simple and it serves four.

1 loaf rustic Italian or French bread*, cut or torn into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded and cut into 1inch pieces
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

*about 6 cups


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400ยบ. Toss bread pieces with 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon salt; arrange bread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Toast bread pieces until just starting to turn light golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Gently toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in large bowl. Transfer to colander and set over bowl; set aside to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3. Whisk remaining 6 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper into reserved tomato juices. Add bread pieces, toss to coat, and let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, and basil to bowl with bread pieces and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Wine pairing: Pinot Gris

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