For the past 2 weeks we’ve been posting Easter fare suggestions: from the appetizer’s beginnings to the sweet endings of dessert. Today, for the salad course, may I suggest an old world Italian, family favorite? Crisp, tangy, slightly salty, sweet and oh so satisfying, Panzanella.
This fresh, colorful spring and summertime salad offers an incredible and flavorful marriage of tastes–savory, salty, tangy, pungent and sweet. You may want to frequent your local Farmer’s market for the freshest ingredients available. Feel free to mix and match vegetables in season for a variety of flavors.
This salad is perfect served alone for a quick lunch or in addition to pasta and or grilled meat or fish for a perfect & fast dinner. Magic with a stem glass filled to the brim with your favorite red or white vino…Bellissima!
- 3 cups cubed Italian bread or rustic bread (stale bread works well too)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), cut in chunks, or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4-1/2 cup sliced, pitted kalamata, pimento olives or a mixture
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium yellow or orange peppers, seeded and cubed
- 1 large seedless cucumber, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 400* Line a baking sheet pan with foil. Toss 1/4 cup of olive oil with bread cubes. Arrange in a single-layer on pan. Toast in oven 15-20 minutes, tossing once, until evenly browned.
- Meanwhile, put tomatoes, onion, olives, 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or until tomatoes release their juices. Toss occasionally.
- Add peppers, cucumber and parsley to tomatoes.
- Let stand at least 15 minutes for flavors to blend.
- Just before serving, add bread cubes; toss to blend thoroughly.
- Top with shaved Parmesan.
Serves 6 regular sides or 3 large meals.