Don't waste that leftover bread - follow the Italian tradition and make it into a delicious panzanella salad with some juicy tomatoes. Incredibly easy to make, it's a great side or light lunch.
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During the summer, I love enjoying all the really good tomatoes that we get on the local farmers' market. Between being more local so that they don't need to be chilled for transportation, and the varieties, they just taste so much better than the ones you get out of season.
I particularly like the heirloom varieties that we sometimes grow at home. Sadly we don't get quite enough direct sun, nor have that much space, to grow many. Another reason why the farmers' market is great to have nearby.
Anyway, I find when you get really good tomatoes, it's worth enjoying them in a way that shows them off. Dishes like a simple caprese, plain or smoked salmon bruschetta and gazpacho all rely on having good tomatoes so are great choices. And so is panzanella.
Ways to use leftover bread
This salad is also a great way to use up some leftover bread. In summer in particular, we can struggle to get through a loaf before it becomes stale.
Thankfully, though, there are many cultures that have great ideas to use it up, such as Spanish migas (essentially seasoned crumbs) and torrijas (Spanish French toast). An Italian favorite is this salad, which is a delicious option in summer.
How to make panzanella
- dice the bread and tomatoes;
- slice the shallot and basil;
- shake/whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard and salt for the dressing;
- drizzle over the dressing, mix and serve.
It's really that easy. Ideally, you leave it all to get to know each other about 15-20 minutes, which is just about the right amount of time to quickly cook some steak, chicken or whatever else to go with it, if you're having it as a side.
However you enjoy this, panzanella salad is such a taste of summer. Easy to make, frugal and packed with flavor. Make sure you make it soon and enjoy.
Try these other summer salads:
- Grilled nectarine salad
- Prosciutto salad with peach and mozzarella
- Luang Prabang salad (Laos salad)
- Plus get more summer recipes in the archives.
- 2 cups bread 65g, diced, stale is best
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ shallot
- 4 basil leaves
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp wine vinegar eg champagne vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
- ⅛ tsp Dijon mustard (optional - not traditional but helps emulsify dressing)
- Dice the bread in roughly bite-sized chunks and put in a bowl. Dice the tomatoes in roughly the same size then add them to the bowl.
- Thinly slice the shallot and shred the basil leaves and add both to the bowl.
- Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and Dijon mustard and pour over the other ingredients. Gently toss then leave the salad to sit around 20 minutes, ideally, before eating to let the flavors mingle (you can also leave a little longer in the fridge).
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
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