Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
I had this for the first time in college in the home of a mentor of sorts and I have never forgotten the meal. She had to feed a bunch of students and this meal is one that I remember as one of the best in my life – delicious food with wonderful friends, what could be better? It’s one of the first meals that I remember trying to re-create myself and it’s also one of the first meals that I ever added to my go-to list of things that are easy, healthy and interesting.
The thing about this recipe is that it works in so many ways. This is what I made today because it’s what we had in the house. It’s fantastic with red onion, with feta or goat cheese, with or without added greens or on top of greens, with all different kinds of bread, with green peppers and cucumbers in the middle of summer, red wine vinegar or lemon juice, with any of a million different herbs…the combinations are endless…
The recipe is basically a list of ingredients, which is a big part of why I like it so much. It’s a bunch of chopping and making croutons – that’s it. Throw everything in a bowl, stir it together and serve. It is best served fresh – the bread doesn’t make it very long past the initial meal.
1 loaf of French Bread cut into 1″ cubes, tossed in olive oil and toasted in the oven at 250 degrees until crunchy
3 medium Tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup small Tomatoes, halved
1 handful of Olives, chopped
1/2 medium Onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh Basil
2 cups Arugula
4 oz. Mozzarella cheese, cubed small
1/3 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
When you’re ready to serve, put all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and serve.