Panzanella: Italian bread salad
The great thing about this recipe is you can add whatever you
like to suit your tastes. The measurements are rough, you can add
or subtract as you like.
6 cups cubed crusty French bread or baguette, cut into 1 inch
cubes (you can lightly toast them in the oven, if you like)
2 large, fresh tomatoes, diced
1⁄2 sweet red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium cucumber, skinned, seeded and diced
1 can kidney or canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh basil leaves, minced or torn into small pieces
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Grated, good quality Parmesan cheese, to taste.
Combine all ingredients (except oil, vinegar, salt and pepper)
in a large non-reactive bowl and mix well. Drizzle olive oil over
contents while stirring to very lightly coat ingredients. Drizzle
vinegar over contents while stirring to lightly coat ingredients.
Use salt and pepper according to your tastes. Shave or grate
Parmesan cheese to taste (I use enough to finely cover the top of
ingredients resting in the bowl, then stir to incorporate).
Allow contents to rest about 30 minutes, softening the bread and
You can also add a can of good quality tuna fish drained, or
diced/shredded chicken or anything else that suits you.
This is basically a fresh summer vegetable salad in a glass.
This recipe converted me from a self-proclaimed tomato-hater to a
Use the best quality, freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find. It
really does make a world of difference. Heirloom or at least
home-grown tomatoes are key.
5 large tomatoes, cored (seeded if you like)
1 large bell pepper
1⁄2 red or sweet yellow onion
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large cucumber, peeled & seeded
Chilled tomato juice
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 or 2 ripe avocados (can be omitted)
Roughly chop all vegetables (not the avocado). Distribute
proportionate amounts of the chopped vegetables and minced garlic
in a blender. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of vinegar and
about 1⁄2 cup of the chilled tomato juice to blend all ingredients
to the consistency of a well-blended salsa. Add remaining chopped
vegetables and more oil and vinegar if it will fit in the blender.
If not, repeat all steps above in batches to use up all
ingredients. At this point, I put the blended vegetables in a one
gallon pitcher for ease of storage/serving. Halve, seed and dice
avocados and stir into mixture (the acid from the tomatoes and
vinegar will keep the avocados nice and green). Add salt and pepper
to taste. You may also add more vinegar if you like (I make mine on
the tangier side). Chill for at least an hour to blend flavors.
It’s even better the following day.
To serve, ladle into soup bowls (or for a party appetizer or 1st
course, you can use wine glasses). Garnish with any of the
following, if you like — or for a party let guests choose from a
“toppings bar”: homemade croutons or garlic toast, chopped hard
boiled egg, a drizzle of creme fraiche, a dollop of pesto, a splash
of Tapatio or other pepper sauce. The possibilities are endless.
Feel free to taste the recipe during the blending process. You can
always add more of something if you like, or if the onion or garlic
are too strong, you can dilute the flavor by pureeing more tomatoes
and stirring them in.