Panzanella salad is one that I remember to prepare when I have a slightly stale French loaf. I love home-made croutons, and when flavored with garlic or cheese I can nibble at that all day long.
This salad uses simple ingredients, like tomatoes, red onions, basil and a couple of cucumbers to add some crunch. The sharp taste of the dressing is a good match and will appreciatively contrast with the croutons.
Don’t forget to pull out your best quality extra-virgin olive to make it!
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
- ½ cup extra virgin oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 day old, loaf French baguette or Italian bread, cut in croutons size
- 4 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cucumbers, diced
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple vinegar)
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Heat olive oil for 2 minutes, then drop the garlic inside and leave it to cool.
- Scatter the bread pieces on a baking tray and brush or drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the garlic olive oil. Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake about 5-7 minutes on each side.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.
- To prepare the dressing; discard garlic cloves. Add vinegar, shallot sugar and salt to olive oil and whisk.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil and bread (croutons). Toss all in the dressing and serve immediately.