Raise your hands if you’ve had Panzanella salad before!
Panzanella Salad is an Italian dish made from stale bread and tomatoes. The classic version would soak the bread in water, then squeeze it dry. It would then be tossed with tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper.
So while it’s not classic, this recipe is amazing! Instead of using stale bread, we use bread toasted with Chef Shamy Garlic Butter. Not only does the butter add a delicious garlic flavor, it allows the bread to be crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, just like stale bread would be.
Obviously, this is meant to use up old bread, so if you’ve got some bread that’s seen better days, use it! Garlic Butter makes everything better!
I know that tomatoes are a fruit. I know.
Summertime is great because of all the fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables are widely available, and cheaper than other parts of the year.
Of course, there are a lot of tomatoes in this recipe. We used grape tomatoes that were cut in half, but you can use whatever kind you want (or whatever kind is on sale!). The important thing is that the chunks of tomato are the same size as the chunks of garlic bread.
Fresh cucumber is one of my favorite things during the summer. A lot of folks won’t eat cucumbers unless they’re peeled. I don’t mind the skin, and it added a great color to our photos. But you can peel your cucumbers if you want.
Of course, fresh basil is a great garnish for this salad. If you come here often, you already know my love of fresh basil. It really takes the flavor up another notch.
Lastly: red onion — feel free to adjust the amount of onion based on your preference.
Lunch or Dinner
Panzanella Salad is perfect as a side dish for a cookout, or as a light summer lunch. It’s vegetarian friendly, and healthy as well!
Feel free to add anything else to the salad that you think would be good: olive, bell peppers, anchovies, or olives. Be creative!
- 4 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 cups crusty bread, diced the same size as the tomatoes
- 6-8 T Chef Shamy Garlic Butter, melted
- 1 cucumber, diced
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil, julienned
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300° F
- Lay cubes of bread on a baking sheet. Brush generously with melted Garlic Butter, until all bread is coated.
- Toast the bread at 300° for 10-15 minutes. We want the edges toasted, but not crispy all the way through.
- Combine toasted bread with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil. Add olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste).
- Toss to combine. Serve immediately.