Panzanella (pant-sa-nella) is a tomato-bread salad that hails from Tuscany. Historians state that it’s origins is the 16th century, when Italians started mixing onions, oil and vinegar with bread. It wasn’t until the 20th century when tomatoes were added, and that has become the norm. It makes for a great summer salad.
1 baguette or country bread (about 8 ounces), day old is fine
1½ to 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cube or tear bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.
- Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garlic and basil. Using your hands, toss together in the bowl. Sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and toss again. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Yield: 4 servings.