There is nothing like a blog post a-la-minute! We are literally waiting to dig in and gobble up this de-lish salad as soon as I snap a shot. Rosemary infused grilled lamb chops, summer corn saute and Tuscan Panzanella Salad all served “al fresco” on the patio for dinner tonight. A great bottle of Pinot, candlelight and a cute hubby to dine with to-boot. LISVG. (Thanks to JoJo for that acronym).
Panzanella salad is a bread and tomato salad originating in Italy. The Tuscans don’t like to waste even a morsel or crumb of good bread, so this wonderful rustic salad was created centuries ago to use up all the day-old bread sitting around the villa. There are loads of panzanella salad recipes floating around. The basic approach is to get some great in-season summer vegetables (must include LOTS of tomatoes), make some homemade grilled croutons from the leftover bread and douse all with a simple vinaigrette. Although I did not do it this evening – you can always add cheese and olives too – it’s a salad for heaven’s sake.
It’s really impossible to describe what happens when you pop a forkful of the homemade croutons and tomatoes soaked in the vinaigrette into your mouth. I’ll just have to let you experience that yourself.
Tuscan Panzanella Salad
1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, rough cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
salt to taste
2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange) stems and seeds removed, cut into one inch pieces
1 small red onion, large dice (about 1/2 cup)
1 large cucumber, seeds scooped out and cut in one inch pieces
1 pint sweet, firm tomatoes, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large basil leaves, chopped
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the vegetables and basil, whisk together all the ingredients in the vinaigrette, throw everything in a big bowl with the home made croutons and pour the vinaigrette over all. Enjoy!!