Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Details

This Italian summer salad is vibrant and delicious. Ripe tomatoes, crunchy bread and fragrant basil are tossed together with a simple, refreshing vinaigrette.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Views: 47,626
  • Success: 96%

Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Bread

• 1 loaf rustic bread (Italian or French)
• 1 to 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Method

To start, preheat your oven to 375° degrees Fahrenheit.

To cut the bread, you can trim off the crust or you can leave just a bit of it on for a different texture. Depending on the size of the loaf, cut it into about 4 pieces lengthwise. Then cut again into a few slices lengthwise and tear into to approximately 1 1/2" pieces. You can cut the bread into cubes, but it’s also easy to tear it for a rustic look.

Toss the bread with a bit of olive oil and salt. Add just enough so that the bread is just lightly seasoned and coated. Then place onto a tray and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss about halfway through to ensure they are crisp on all sides. Once done, they should be crispy on the outside but still a bit soft in the middle. Set aside to cool, while you make the vinaigrette.

Step 2: Making the Vinaigrette

• 1 clove garlic
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 9 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• kosher or sea salt (to taste)
• freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Method

To prepare the vinaigrette, first mince the garlic. Using a bowl or jar, mix the garlic, vinegar and olive oil together. Make sure to use a quality olive oil as this salad is all about quality and fresh ingredients. Finish with a good pinch or two of salt and pepper. The vinaigrette should taste a tiny bit salty, as this is what will ultimately season the entire salad. Then shake to emulsify and set aside.

Step 3: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 1 1/2 lb heirloom tomatoes (or any variety of ripe tomatoes)
• 1/4 red onion (approx.)
• 1/3 cup green or black olives (optional)
• 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
• 1/2 cup fresh basil (approx.)

Method

To prepare the salad, first wash the tomatoes. We use a variety of local heirloom tomatoes, but you can use any kind of tomatoes. Just remember the more flavorful the tomatoes are, the better the salad will be. Remove any stems from the tomatoes and core them if needed. Cut into wedges or bite-size pieces. Transfer them to a bowl and set aside.

Thinly slice the red onion. Pit the olives and tear them in half. Tear the mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Gather the basil and you can now begin to assemble the salad.

Step 4: Assembling the Salad

Method

To assemble the salad, it’s best to layer it and toss as you go. Add about 1/3 of the bread, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and red onion. Then add a couple of tablespoons of the vinaigrette. To keep with the rustic look of the salad, tear about 1/3 of the basil with your hands. Then gently toss and continue building another 2 layers. Add just a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette at a time, as you don’t want the salad to become too soggy. Any leftover dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once all of the ingredients have been added, toss the salad one last time. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately. This salad is delicious on its own, but it also makes a great appetizer or side dish.

Chef's Notes

This salad is typically made with leftover, day-old bread. However, you don’t have to have day-old bread in order to make it. Fresh bread is fantastic. You just need to dry it out a bit in the oven so it doesn’t become soggy from the vinaigrette and the juice from the tomatoes.

16 Comments

  • Ishcah S
    Ishcah S
    that's all i have 2 say this can be made in a hurry gooodd
  • Jenny M
    Jenny M
    This salad is now a favorite. So easy and quick to make that it'll be a staple in my kitchen. Thanks guys!! =D
  • Patricia S
    Patricia S
    We got hooked on this salad a number of years ago while in Florence. In Italy, they dip the day old bread into water and then squeeze it dry before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. We prefer it much better this way with the fresh crisp bread. Either way it is fantastic and so fresh. Glad you added it Kim...thanks!
  • Kenmere D
    Kenmere D
    I want to use my olives but they are too salty. I bought them in a shrink wrapped package and they are from Turkey. What can I do to take out some of the salt? This salad sounds so tasty I don't want to ruin it
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    If your olives are too salty, they can be soaked in water for a few hours. This might help remove some of the salt. You can also try rinsing them with cold water to see if that helps. If they are still too salty, decrease the amount or leave them out all together. Olives are not crucial for this salad, as it is more about the tomatoes, bread and basil. Sometimes it happens where you buy ingredients that are just too salty and there's not much you can do about it. Good for you for tasting them first though, before making the dish. Hope this helps.
  • Marshann C
    Marshann C
    "Any leftover dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days." I just made this again and was going to use the dressing from the first batch that I have kept refrigerated for a week or so. Will it just not be as flavorful or should I really not use it?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    It should be fine if it was stored in the refrigerator. Best thing is to taste it and see. Cheers!
  • Marshann C
    Marshann C
    Thanks! I love this school!
  • June C
    June C
    Thing is the best recipe & demo I have seen for this wonderful salad. I am definitely going to make it for my company, even though I only have franks & burgers on the rest of the menu! Thank you D & D for this wonderful cooking school website. I'm not getting any of my work done, just watching these videos. They are fabulous!
  • Riley M
    Riley M
    Served this along side a tomato, onion, and basil fritatta. Perfect in every way. I didn't use olives, and I put a bit of orange zest into the dressing, for a crisp hint of citrus. I also used a bit of yellow onion as well for contrast. Turned out great, definitely would recommend. -Keep Cooking Riley Morgan
  • Bridgette G
    Bridgette G
    Hello! I'm a newbie and this is the first recipe I am preparing. I might as well get this question out there now. I LOVE garlic, but when I eat it, it stays with me for two days (ie I smell of garlic on my breath especially no matter what I seem to try). This is EXTREMELY embarrassing and I don't want to be the smelly girl! Since my husband can eat garlic and not have this problem, I have concluded that it must be something in my genetic make up? Consequently, I have taken to avoiding garlic when ordering out or when cooking altogether. My question, is there a good substitutuion for garlic, maybe shallots or something?? Would crushing the garlic be better than mincing, or roasting it? Or does anyone have this same issue and has found something that works to rid the body of the smell? Any advice or suggestions would be most appreciated as garlic is such a key element of so many dishes!! :-)
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Some people react differently to garlic. We are no experts on genetics, etc. but do know from experience that people are affected differently. Some people you can't even smell the garlic on while for others it's very strong. Here is a good site that lists substitutions you might want to try out. The smaller you cut garlic, the stronger. The same amount of crushed garlic will be more intense than the same amount of thinly-sliced garlic. Cheers!
  • Shirley L
    Shirley L
    I have prepared this recipe numerous times since finding it on Rouxbe some time back. It is so delicious, and very easy to make. I admit I have yet to try green olives in it, as I just love kalamata olives...indeed I probably use a disproportionate amount of them in my version! I have also found that it makes tasty use of early season or (yuck!) grocery store tomatoes, in a pinch. (So long as they're ripe, of course.) Try this recipe on the meat-lover in your family; I think they'll be surprised at how satisfying a meal this salad can be, all on it's own. Or perhaps with just a glass of nice red wine.... Cheers!
  • Olesea C
    Olesea C
    Thank you for the recipe. Very delicious and very easy to prepare!!
  • Juan jesus R
    Juan jesus R
    A couple of "Spanish" tricks about garlic. 1. Just rub the bowl where you are going to assemble the salad with half garlic glove instead of adding minced garlic to the vinaigrette. 2. Remove the heart of the garlic (cut the glove in half and remove the yellow thread). In both cases you'll get a softer flavour. Best regards, Juan
  • Juan jesus R
    Juan jesus R
    By the way this recipe it's delicious!!

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