Panzanella Salad is really an excuse to eat bread soaked in olive oil and vinegar if you ask me. And I am totally fine with admitting that. This is a hearty salad that I would gladly eat any day of the week. Cubes of toasted crusty bread, tomatoes that I grew myself, hunks of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil (that I also grew myself) olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. What is not to love? This salad is a great way to get rid of some day old bread. If you are like me and hoard bread in your freezer, it is a great way to use up that too. There are a million ways that you could add to this salad. Clean out your veggie drawer and add cucumbers, onions, whatever you like.
*Admittedly, I did not really measure when I made this salad. These are guidelines, but I am including a dressing recipe to use if you should so choose*
1/2 loaf of crusty day old bread
2 cups of tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 container fresh mozzarella
1 clove chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Start with the dressing. In the bottom of a bowl, add the garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk and slowly stream the olive oil in. Whisk until the mixture comes together.
Chop your tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
(You could make this ahead of time by making your dressing, chopping your vegetables, and getting you bread ready and just tossing before you are ready to serve it.)
Toss the tomatoes and cheese in the dressing.
Slice your bread and brush (or spray) with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grill or toast your bread until it is toasty and crunchy.
Cube the bread and add to the tomatoes and dressing. Toss with the basil and Parmesan cheese. I saved some cheese and basil for garnish.
Put in a serving dish and enjoy a delicious hearty salad.