Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad that has been enjoyed in Italy for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the days when Tuscany was a rural region, and people had to make do with whatever ingredients were available. The dish was created as a way to use up stale bread and make a flavourful and satisfying meal out of simple ingredients.
Traditionally, panzanella was made with stale bread, tomatoes, onions, and basil, all dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Over the years, the recipe has evolved to include other ingredients, such as cucumbers, peppers, and even anchovies.
Today, panzanella is enjoyed all over Italy and has become a popular summer salad around the world. Its simple yet flavorful combination of bread, vegetables, and tangy dressing make it a refreshing and satisfying dish on a hot day.
- 1/2 loaf of day-old bread (preferably sourdough or ciabatta), cut into bite-size cubes
- 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
- 1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden brown.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil. Toss everything together gently.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the bread and vegetable mixture and toss gently to coat everything evenly.
- Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour, to allow the bread to soak up the dressing and the flavors to meld together.
- Serve the panzanella salad at room temperature, garnished with additional basil leaves if desired.
Enjoy your delicious and refreshing panzanella salad!