Posted on 04 November 2010 by tomatocasual.com

Panzanella: Overripe Tomatoes and Day-Old Bread

panzanellaBy David Harbilas

What good are stale bread and tomatoes that seem destined for the trash?

The Italians found a use, and its simplicity seems to come from years of refinement.

Bread salad, as panzanella is often called, is little more than a mixture of croutons and chopped vegetables tossed with a simple vinaigrette.

Here, they are slightly changed by the addition of pureed tomatoes that are nearly too ripe for any other use. Their near-liquid consistency works perfectly as a dressing for the croutons and vegetables, balanced by a little vinegar and olive oil. Last of the season herbs completes the dish.

Serves 4

  • 3 large, overripe tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cups day-old bread, diced
  • 1clove garlic
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup mixed, chopped herbs, such as basil, chives, and oregano

For the croutons, preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Toss the bread cubes in olive oil and lay flat on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 10-1 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and cool. Puree the tomatoes with the garlic and red wine vinegar in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to make a dressing. Place the croutons, chopped vegetables and herbs in a bowl and toss with the dressing until the bread soaks up the sauce and the vegetables are well-coated. Serve.

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