With summer officially here, that means lots of BBQ’s with family and friends! This is a time to allow the fresh summer flavors to shine through and complement BBQ favorites. I love to bring different salads to parties that everyone can try. Panzanella salad is a rustic Italian salad made with day old bread and fresh produce. It is a match made in heaven!
This salad is simplistic and purely shows off the amazing produce of the summer. Plus, the homemade bread croutons soak up the tangy dressing, while still adding a lot of crunch. The croutons are predominant in this salad, and not your typical salad with just a few on top. If you bring this to your 4th of July festivities, all of the guests will love this salad.
Panzanella Salad Salad
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
For the Salad:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
1) If you are going to bring this to a party and make the salad ahead of time, I would suggest bringing the croutons in a separate container. Then just add them to the salad with dressing when ready to serve. This will allow the croutons to maintain their crunchy perfection.2) Feel free to add some of your favorite produce items to this salad.
3) I only had red peppers the day I made this salad, but to make this salad even more
colorfuly, you can use one yellow and one orange pepper.
4) The original recipe called for Champagne vinegar. I didn't have any in the house, so I used red wine vinegar and it worked out perfectly.