Panzanella Salad

For second day of Italian cuisine, I have a Tuscan salad that is prepared with stale bread. In fact, in olden days this salad was prepared to use up any leftover bread. A thick crust bread such as sourdough boule, Italian bread or French baguette works the best for this salad. Regular sandwich bread doesn’t work and will get very soggy. A thick bread holds up its shape when tossed in the salad dressing even after one hour.

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I used sourdough boule here. I was actually looking for a small loaf of French or Italian bread. I never used sourdough bread before and when I saw it at Whole Foods, I picked up half loaf.

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I cut the loaf into 1” cubes and left it on the countertop all day and also left it in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, which I had fired up to broil some food. Though the oven was off, the heat was enough to dry up the bread. Tomatoes and onions are basic vegetables that go into the salad and more vegetables of one’s choice can also be added. I threw in some sliced red bell peppers and a cucumber. There are many recipes online and I made the salad to my taste.

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Servings: 1 ½ – 2 (as a side dish)

Ingredients

  • ½ – ⅔ cups Bread pieces cut into 1” cubes
  • ¼ cup sliced Red Onion
  • 8 Grape Tomatoes, cut in ½
  • 1 mini Cucumber, lightly scraped and cut into ¾” cubes
  • ¼ cup sliced Red Bell Pepper
  • 4-5 leaves Basil, chopped about 1 tbsp
  • 1 tsp. Chopped Parsley
  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Red Wine Vinegar or Cooking White Wine
  • ⅛ – ¼ tsp. Salt to taste
  • ⅛ tsp. Dijon Mustard (can use less, depending on taste or skip it all together)
  • 1/16 – ⅛ tsp. Black Pepper Powder (to taste)
  • 1 small Garlic Clove, minced or finely chopped or ¼ tsp. Garlic Powder

Preparation:

  • Sourdough boule, French baguette, Italian bread or any Artisan bread is preferred for this salad. Cut the bread into 1” cubes and leave it overnight on the countertop. Or Roast it in a 350F oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the bread is toasted, turning it around a few times. OR can do what I did. I put it in a hot oven, which I had turned off after broiling some food. In the hot oven, bread cubes were dry and toasted in 20 minutes.
  • Take bread, tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, basil, parsley in a bowl and toss.
  • Make a vinaigrette by whisking together all the ingredients listed from extra virgin olive oil to the end of the ingredient list.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss.
  • Keep the salad aside for at least ½ hour until flavors mingle.
  • Serve as a side dish.

Note:

  • Bread – Sourdough boule, French baguette, Italian bread or any Artisan bread is preferred for this salad.
  • Dressing – Here, I used dijon mustard, black pepper powder and salt for seasoning. If one wishes, mustard can be skipped and use just black pepper powder and salt.
  • Bread – I used sourdough bread and felt ½ – ¾ tsp. of red wine vinegar or cooking wine was sufficient to give that sour taste to the salad. Adjust it to taste.

This day in 2008: Mushrooms Green Bell Peppers Curry and Shrimp Curry
This day in 2014 – Mango Fool

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#64

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