Monday, August 11, 2008


With Summer really in full swing and the produce overflowing my house I knew I wanted a great salad with dinner tonight. I had a phase of my life in the 90's where I was convinced I was part Italian (maybe I had been kidnapped by Gypsy's). I cooked peasant Italian, regional Italian, American-Italian, et al. It took me about five minutes of navel gazing for the light bulb to finally come on, but when it lit it really shown brightly.
Panzanella is a rustic Tuscan (peasant....I am guessing) salad. The ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now. Stale bread, fresh tomatoes, capers, olive, red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, etc. The variations are wide and I have seen recipes with the addition of tuna, hard boiled eggs and the like. Here is my version of this Italian classic.

1 loaf of Italian bread (stale, and cut into 1" cubes)
1 lb. Tomatoes (plum, cherry, pear or what ever is fresh) course chop
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Red Onion, sliced razor thin
1 handful Fresh Basil, chiffonade
2 Tbsp. Capers
1/4 cup Olives (assorted)
1/2 handful of Italian Parsley, course chopped
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil

Combine all the above in a large bowl and toss. I personally like my bread a little firm, but I like when the bread acts like a small sponge and absorbs the oil and vinegar. This salad is best if you can toss it and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
Buon Appetito-