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Summertime and Italian cuisine seem to go hand in hand, and this delicious dish is proof of that! Panzanella, also known as Italian bread salad, is a classic Tuscan recipe that’s loved around the world. Refreshingly flavorful with bright colors and soft textures, it has all the elements of a great summer meal: It’s light yet slightly indulgent; effortless but impressive; perfect for lunch or dinner. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and have leftovers throughout the week.
Mamma mia! Have you ever tried Italian bread salad, also known as Panzanella? This dish is not only tasty but also a brilliant way to use up old bread. Combining juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, onions, and tangy vinegar with chewy chunks of bread will sing your taste buds with joy. Not to mention, it’s simple to make and perfect for a summer picnic or a side dish for your next grilled entree. So, what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen, grab some bread and fresh ingredients, and whip up some panzanella like a true Italian chef!
Italian Bread Salad, also known as Panzanella, is a traditional Tuscan dish that’s perfect for those summer days. Here are some ingredient tips to help you make the ideal Panzanella.
The bread is the star of the dish. The bread must be slightly stale, as it will absorb all the salad flavors without getting soggy. Use a hearty crusty bread like ciabatta or sourdough, cut into cubes, and toast until golden brown for added crunch.
Tomatoes are a vital ingredient in Panzanella, and choosing the right ones is essential. Opt for ripe, juicy tomatoes that are bursting with flavor and color. Heirloom tomatoes work great in this salad as they are often sweeter and more flavorful than regular tomatoes.
Cucumbers are a refreshing addition to this salad. Use firm and fresh cucumbers, and slice them into thin rounds. If you prefer, you can also peel the skin off for a more delicate texture.
Red onion adds a sharp and tangy flavor to the salad. Slice the onion paper-thin, and soak it in ice water for 10-15 minutes to remove the sharp edge.
Lettuce adds an extra level of crunch to the salad. Choose crisp lettuce like romaine or butter, and tear it into bite-sized pieces.
Basil adds a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the salad. Use fresh basil leaves, and tear them into small pieces before tossing them into the salad. To make the Panzanella, toss all the ingredients together in a bowl, and dress it with olive oil and vinegar. Allow the flavors to meld together in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This dish is perfect on its own or as a side dish to grilled meats and vegetables. So go ahead, give it a try, and enjoy the taste of summertime!
Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)
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Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)
Let's gather the ingredients!
- ½ pound crusty bread preferably stale
- ½ pound tomatoes chopped
- 1 cucumber chopped
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 8 lettuce leaves chopped
- 15 basil fresh
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp vinegar white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- Break the stale bread into big chunks, add them to a bowl, and cover with 2 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of vinegar. Soak the bread for 5 to 15 minutes or until soft.
- Squeeze the liquid out of the soaked bread, then coarsely crumble it into a large bowl.
- Add the cucumber, tomato, and onion to the bowl with the bread.
- Season the salad with olive oil, remaining vinegar, fresh basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
- Toss well and set aside in the fridge for 10 to 30 minutes before serving.
- Add the chopped lettuce and toss well.
- Serve and enjoy with family and friends!
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We’ve discovered that the Italian bread salad or Panzanella is a classic Italian dish perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re preparing a meal for two or ten, it’s an easy yet delicious way to impress. Panzanella is also one of the most versatile dishes around. You can modify flavors and ingredients depending on your preferences or dietary needs – the possibilities are endless!
Now that you know how great a Panzanella salad can be, why not try it? Take this recipe and customize it with whatever flavors and produce you fancy! Let us know what variations you come up with, and don’t forget to share pictures with us of your finished Panzanella. We love seeing what our readers come up with! So why wait? Gather your ingredients, set aside some time, and experience the unadulterated pleasure of an Italian bread salad. Let us know what you think!
How can I ensure that the bread in my Italian Bread Salad stays crispy and doesn't become soggy?
To keep the bread in your Italian Bread Salad crispy, it’s important to use slightly stale bread. This helps the bread absorb the flavors of the dressing without becoming overly mushy. Additionally, make sure to cut the bread into cubes and toast them in the oven or on a stovetop until they are slightly golden and crisp. This will give your salad a delightful crunch.
Can I prepare the Italian Bread Salad in advance, or is it best served immediately?
Yes, you can prepare the Italian Bread Salad ahead of time, but there are a few things to keep in mind. It is generally best to mix the dressing separately and store it separately from the bread and other ingredients. Just before serving, combine the bread, vegetables, and dressing to prevent the bread from becoming overly soggy. This way, you can enjoy the salad’s flavors and textures while still saving time by preparing it in advance.
What are some variations or additions I can make to the traditional Italian Bread Salad recipe?
While the traditional Italian Bread Salad recipe is delicious on its own, there are several variations and additions you can experiment with to add your own personal touch. For example, you can incorporate different types of vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes. You could also consider adding fresh herbs like basil or parsley to enhance the flavors. Additionally, some people enjoy adding protein like grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a more substantial meal. Feel free to get creative and tailor the recipe to your preferences.
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