Straight from the veggie garden to the salad bowl, Panzanella is the quintessential summer salad. Juicy homegrown tomatoes, cukes, bell pepper, and basil soak up chunks of crusty Italian bread for one of the most delightful dishes of the season.
- 6 one-inch Ciabatta or crusty Italian bread cut into one-inch cubes
- 1 head lettuce (romaine, or baby leaf lettuces)
- ½ bunch basil red leafy basil is especially pretty in this salad, but traditional green works
- 3 large tomatoes ( Use only the freshest – ripest tomatoes for this salad! ) any combination of red, orange and yellow
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ cucumber peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick slices, then quartered
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup antipasto olives Kalamata or spiced Italian olives, drained
- 1 tablespoon capers drained
Dressing – Mix well and store in a jar until ready to use.
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced (use more if you love garlic)
- 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper more if you like
- 1 tablespoon juice from tomatoes used in salad
To Assemble Salad:
- Place bread squares in the toaster oven at low temperature for about 30 minutes, or until crusty. Remove and cool to room temperature.
- Place bread in the bottom of a large salad bowl and layer the rest of the ingredients on top, beginning with lettuce, followed by cucumber, bell pepper, basil, feta, olives, and capers.
- Pour dressing over top and let drain down to the bread. Gently toss and serve.