Panzanella Salad—what is it? It is a delicious salad just made for the dog days of summer!
It is of Tuscan (that would be Italy) origin. Everyone in Italy has bread in their kitchen. What to do with the stale parts? Mix them with the bounties of summer. AND use a lot of olive oil.
Panzanella, “according to some” is the fusion of two words “pane,” meaning bread and “zanella,” meaning soup bowl. It is a rustic dish that can be made quickly with ingredients you have. Anciently, it was primarily made with onions, bread, olive oil and water. Poor man’s food. It was not until the twentieth century that tomatoes were added (since they were NOT from Italy until brought there from afar).
Now, panzanella is made from whatever is in your kitchen in the summer. Call it “clean out the fridge Bread Salad.”
The following recipe is adapted from localhaven.net, because I LOVED her photos of this salad, although there are a lot of recipes out there that use peaches. Since we have been eating our weight in peaches for the last week, and since I wanted to feature some of the best beauties of the Boalsburg Farmers Market yesterday, I adapted this recipe for the samples I made for market customers. Plus, the combination of sweet peaches with the tomatoes and tart Chevre is really an explosion of summer in your mouth!!
Isn’t August great??!!!
Panzanella Salad with Peaches
(adapted from localhaven.net)
1 loaf day old crusty bread, cut into cubes (I used ciabatta)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (and more for dressing the salad)
2 peaches, cut into chunks
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used a combination of Sungold as well as red cherry tomatoes)
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup basil, loosely packed, and chopped into small, thin strips
1/2 pint Chevre Cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the cubes of bread with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay them out evenly on a large baking sheet, in one layer. Let them bake in the oven about 8 minutes until they start to brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
In a large bowl, toss together the peaches, tomatoes, and the basil. Add the white balsamic vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Put the bread cubes in the bowl and toss them together with all the other ingredients. Douse with olive oil, as much as you would like for flavor and to moisten the salad (realizing that the fruit and veggies are also doing that job). Add the Chevre cheese in small pieces (it’s easiest to just use your fingers!) and mix together gently so the cheese stays in chunks. Check again for seasoning, if you need more salt and pepper.