PANZANELLA SALAD

This wonderful classic Italian summer salad is delicious to make anytime of the year. This dish is essentially a bread salad, where you take day old dry crusty bread, cut it into cubes and let the tomato, olive oil and vinegar juices soak into the bread. This is the perfect salad to make if you have leftover bread and really don't know what to do with it anymore. This salad can be served on it's own or you can serve it along side any grilled meat or fish. Give it a try today!

Adapted from the "Panzanella" recipe from the Real Simple: Meals Made Easy cookbook. Written by: Renne Schettler (2006).

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf day-old whole-wheat or white bread, preferably unsliced
  • 6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 large red onion or sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives or green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan (optional)

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, about 5 cups. If you don't like the crust feel free to remove and discard the crust from the bread. In a large bowl, place in the bread cubes, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, olives and basil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and parsley (is using). Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bread mixture and toss gently. Transfer the salad into individual plates and scatter the shaved Parmesan over top.

Cook's notes: If you like the bread to be truly soaked with the tomato-olive oil juices than let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour before serving.

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