Panzanella (tuscan bread salad)

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
10 ounces Best-quality stale --
Italian bread
1⅔ cup Cold water
½ cup Red wine vinegar
3 larges Ripe tomatoes -- cored,
Seeded, diced
1 Red or Vidalia onion --
2 Ribs celery -- diced
½ medium Cucumber -- diced
2 tablespoons Capers -- drained
1 Clove garlic -- minced
⅓ cup Olive oil
¾ teaspoon Anchovy paste
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt -- pepper to taste
½ cup Fresh basil leaves --

Preparation time: 20 minutes. Standing time: 10 minutes. This salad displays the Tuscan trait of using stale bread in innovative ways. Paired with fresh summer produce, the dried bread takes on a second life.

Classically, a rustic Italian bread is used. We tried it with an olive oil and rosemary-scented loaf.

Remove crusts from bread and cut bread into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl and add water and vinegar. Toss lightly so the bread is completely soaked. Let stand 10 minutes. Squeeze bread gently but firmly to remove most of the moisture; return to a dry mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, onion, celery, cucumber, capers and garlic to bread and toss lightly. Whisk oil, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over bread mixture and toss well. Fold in basil. Chicago Tribune, 08/05/93.

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