Panzanella

Panzanella ~ Super Salads

Now this is different and very good!

Have you ever wondered what to do with that stale loaf of bread that didn't quite get used up?

Well, instead of throwing out that hardened, forgotten loaf, try tossing with fresh vegetables and a tangy balsamic dressing to soften it up and make a meal.

Seriously...try this for a very different accompaniment or even on it's own.

A tomato and Italian crouton salad.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Standing Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar.

1 clove garlic, minced.

Italian loaf or Francese bread (about 3/4 loaf), cut into 1-1/2" cubes (See note below).

1 c. roughly chopped Roma tomatoes (about 1 1/2 whole)

1/2 small sweet white onion (Vidallia), thickly sliced.

1/2 c. fresh basil leaves.

1/4 c. chopped fresh mozzarella cheese.

3 small cherry tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped.

Preparation;

1. In large bowl, combine oil, vinegar, garlic, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

2. I like to “pan-fry” the bread to obtain the croutons.

This is the "trick" that our friends are always trying to pry out of me because they’re noticeably much better than if made in the oven.

I use salted butter.

Use about 1 Tbs. for every c. or so of bread.

Add the cut-up bread pieces into a frying pan with the butter and turn on the heat to medium-high.

Toast in the pan.

Keep your eyes on them as they can burn easily.

But each side should take about 5-10 minutes, depending on your heat level and type of pan.

Add olive oil or butter as you go if they seem to be getting too dry.

When the croutons are almost done (getting to a light golden color), add the chopped garlic.

By the time the garlic finishes cooking and toasts a little, your garlic flavored croutons will be perfectly toasted.

Transfer croutons & garlic to a large bowl

Add tomatoes, onion, basil, and cheese.

Toss to coat.

Let Panzanella stand 60 minutes at room temperature.

3. Toss again, scatter cherry tomatoes on top..

You must now summon the patience required to wait at least an hour to dive in.

It’s tough, we know.

But the salad needs to sit for a bit in order for the tomatoes to give off a little juice and the bread to soak up all the delicious goodness.

Important Note!

We often hear from folks who haven’t ever tried Panzanella that they’re worried about the bread being soggy.

This isn’t the case!

The idea is to use very crusty Italian bread that has some substance to it, it never gets soggy, it just gets moistened by the glorious dressing and the juices from the tomatoes.

Nutrition:

400 Calories,

10 g. Protein,

54 g. Carbohydrates,

16 g. Fat,

3.5 g. Saturated Fat,

5 mg. Cholesterol,

4 g. Fiber,

560 mg. Sodium

NOTE: If preferred, spread cubes on tray in single layer and allow to air dry 2 to 4 hours.

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