One good tomato salad deserves another. Claire wrote about the Caprese salad yesterday, and today I move northward in Italy to bring you Panzanella.
Panzanella might be one of my favorite foods of all time. Simple to prepare, beautiful, seasonal, and delicious. And it’s great summertime fare because you don’t have to turn on the oven. It is a Tuscan dish that was invented as a way to use up stale bread, but it’s worth making even if you don’t have any stale bread kicking around.
If you have stale bread kicking around, great, use it. But if you don’t just toast up slices of some good-quality white bread. Try not to brown them too much as I did with some of mine.
In a large bowl, combine cubed fresh tomatoes (I used heirlooms from the greenmarket) and sliced red onion.
Add in the stale/toasted bread, cut up into cubes. In terms of ratios, I would say that you want roughly equal amounts tomatoes and bread, and red onion to taste. If you love the taste of raw onion – and you know who you are – load it up.
Dress the whole thing with olive oil and red wine vinegar (no need to haul out the fancy balsamic here, as this is a peasant dish) and season with salt, pepper, and some shredded fresh basil.