Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
photo by Jostlori
- Ready In:
- 6 slices Italian bread (1-inch thick)
- 1 cucumber, pared, thinly sliced
- 2 bell peppers, combination yellow and red, seeded, cut into thin slices
- 1⁄8 cup snipped fresh chives
- 1 medium red onion, thinly slivered (about 1 cup)
- 12 oil-cured black olives
- 1⁄4 - 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 ripe large plum tomatoes, cut into large dice
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- olive oil, and
- red wine vinegar (for serving)
- Heat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toast 4-6 inches from heat, turning once, until light golden. Tear into large pieces and drop into mixing bowl. Place half the bread in large salad bowl. Scatter half the cucumbers, peppers, and chives, then half the onions and olives over bread.
- Combine 1/4 cup oil, both vinegars, tomaotes, capers, garlic, salt, and pepper and spoon half over salad. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Stir once or twice but do not combine thoroughly. If bread seems dry, add oil. Refrigerate covered 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
- About 20 minutes before serving, let panzanella warm to room temperature. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish salad with basil and serve with cruets of oil and vinegar.
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RECIPE SUBMITTED BY
I didn't start cooking until my early 20's, even though I come from a family of accomplished and admired home cooks. While I grew up watching my Italian grandmother in the kitchen, I remained uninterested in trying anything on my own. As a young lady, I was known for being particularly ignorant in the kitchen, with no idea how to even make a hot dog! All this changed, however, when I got engaged. I realized it was time to let my inherent talents out of the bag. At the time, the New York Times had a weekly column called The 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey. Each week, I would follow these recipes diligently, and taught myself to cook that way. From there, I began to read cookbooks and consult with relatives on family recipes. At my ripe old age now, I feel I know enough to put together a very pleasing meal and have become accomplished in my own right. Having an Irish father and an Italian mother, I'm glad I inherited the cooking gene (and the drinking one too!). One thing I have learned is that simpler is always better! I always believe cooking fills a need to nurture and show love. After being widowed fairly young and living alone with my dog and cats, I stopped cooking for awhile, since I really had no one to cook for. I made care packages for my grown son occasionally, and like to cook weekly for my boyfriend, so I feel like I am truly back in the saddle!!