Panzanella or panmolle originated in central Italy. It is a salad that includes day old bread and tomatoes dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is a simple salad that is popular in summer when tomatoes are in season. My version adds cucumbers and Purple basil, something I received in my CSA box. I grill the bread for a great smokey flavor which complements the salad. If you like, you can add other vegetables. Bell peppers, radishes, beets, squash, and other herbs taste great in this salad. I like to make this salad when I have old stale bread. There's no sense in wasting it, especially if it can be used to create this tasty dish.
This salad is great on its own for lunch for served with dinner. It's a favorite in our house with grilled chicken. Here's how I make it.
Grilled Panzanella Salad
4 slices day-old bread (I used 1/4 of French bread loaf)
4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Purple Basil leaves, chopped (can substitute green basil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat grill. Place bread on the grill until toasted and grill marks appear. It takes about 1-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
2. Combine the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and basil in a large bowl. Add bread and combine.
3. Combine garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a jar. Shake to combine and pour over tomato and bread mixture. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.