You say “to-MAY-to”…I say “to-MAH-to”!! Part Four

A Panzanella Salad is an Italian salad made with tomatoes and stale bread. This is easily one of our favorite and most-often made salads, especially when we have tons of tomatoes growing in the backyard. I first found it in an early (April, 1996) issue of (what else?) Bon Appétit and have made it countless times since. We’ve taken it camping, to picnics and BBQ’s…it’s easy to make ahead and pack up. Just pack the croutons separately and toss everything together when you get to your destination.

It calls for Plum tomatoes, but you can use any variety you like. I love it with a combination of different colored heirloom cherry tomatoes.

Panzanella Salad with Olives & Cheese

INGREDIENTS

Dressing

1/2 c. olive oil

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. Sherry wine vinegar

1-1/2 T. capers with 1 t. juices

1 garlic clove, minced

Salad

4 c. 3/4-inch cubes French bread baguette (about ½ of an 8 oz. loaf)

1-1/2 lbs. Plum tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch pieces

2 c. English hothouse cucumber, cut into ¾-inch pieces

½ c. diced red onion

3 T. chopped fresh basil

18 brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata)

8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch pieces

Fresh basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS

For Dressing:

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree.

For Salad:

Preheat oven to 450˚. Place bread cubes on large baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cool.

Mix bread cubes, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and chopped basil in large bowl. Add enough dressing to coat generously and toss well. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Divide salad among plates. Top with olives and cheese. Garnish with basil sprigs.

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