Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad of bread and ripe tomatoes, and this version is one of our favorite summer meals. At a potluck table, a few people cautiously tried a bite, word spread, and it disappeared instantly. Great with any small tomatoes fresh from the garden.
Serves 6 to 8 as a dinner salad
- 1 1-pound loaf unsliced artisan bread (we use Essential Baking’s Rosemary loaf)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 11/2 teaspoons bouquet garni herb blend (savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage and tarragon)
- 11/2 teaspoons Turkish spice blend (salt, garlic, cumin, black pepper, oregano, paprika, sumac, cayenne and cilantro)
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 10.5-ounce containers grape tomatoes
- 1/2 each 10.2-ounce jars pitted kalamata and green olives (unstuffed), sliced in half, or use all of one kind
- 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 containers ciliegine (cherry-sized, fresh mozzarella balls), drained, or any fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, julienne
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, julienne
- 3/4 cup thick and creamy balsamic dressing (we use Met Market’s or Gourmondo’s)
Cut bread into 1 inch or bite-size cubes. Put the cubes into a large plastic bag, add spices and olive oil, and shake to coat. Lay the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven until they begin to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool before adding to the salad. (If you’re in a hurry, you can add to the salad after just a few minutes, while still warm.)
Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a very large salad bowl. Toss with most of the dressing, add toasted bread, toss again and add additional dressing if necessary. You may add tuna or hard-boiled eggs for extra protein.
Timesaver Tip: This recipe involves a lot of chopping, so, if you don’t have kitchen helpers, slice olives and onions and drain garbanzos the night before, and store them in the fridge in separate plastic bags.