The best time of year is now! So many tomatoes are causing us to make so many delicious salads, still! As a young company, we do a lot of farmers markets and in-store demos so we always have quite a bit of bread on hand. So much bread actually, that we usually end up making bread crumbs (when you've got an Italian grandmother on your team nothing gets wasted... ever!). Today's meal consisted of some (few) day-old breads which work perfectly for a Panzanella Salad. Also, a ton of heirloom varieties we recently purchased from Neversink Organic Farm at last week's Hasting's Farmers Market. All you need to get your hands on are some local-juicy-fresh tomatoes and some other veggies and ingredients (Nonna used capers and anchovies, of course) to zip it up for some extra bold flavor. The key detail you should always remember when making a Panzanella Salad is to let it sit for a while before serving. Never fails. Enjoy it!
Panzanella Salad with Summer Tomatoes
1-2 (day-old) loaf of bread
3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced (about 3 pounds)
1 large cucumber, chopped
2 Tbsp capers
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 medium red onion
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black Pepper, to taste
For the lemon-garlic vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
6 anchovies, finely chopped/smashed
3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes: Slice into roughly 1-inch cubes.
- Dry the bread: Spread the bread cubes over a baking sheet. Leave uncovered overnight to stale and harden. Alternatively, bake in a 300°F oven until hardened on the outside but still slightly soft in the middle, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.
- Chop the vegetables: Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces. Slice the onion into thin slices.
- Make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Combine the salad in a bowl: Combine the bread and chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over top and use a wooden spatula to mix.
- Let the salad sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours: Let the salad sit at least half an hour before serving, or up to 4 hours. Stir occasionally so the juices and vinaigrette are evenly distributed.
This salad is best eaten the day it's made.