I had never heard of a Panzanella Salad until I saw a cooking challenge on television. The amateur chef was Italian and decided to make a Panzanella Salad because ingredients were limited and time was short. After all, it was a challenge.
Salads in general don’t take long to pull together and Panzanella Salad fits that bill. The most time consuming part of making this salad is crisping up the bread cubes. Of course, if you are really short on time you could use prepared toasted bread cubes or even croutons. In a pinch use whatever is quick. I like crisping up my own bread cubes because I like to use different types of bread when making this salad. Ciabatta, sour dough bread or even a french baguette are a few of my favorites. One day I want to try and use cornbread but I am afraid it may come out mushy. I will let you know once I figure it out.
I took a few liberties with my version of Panzanella Salad by adding vegetables not included in the traditional versions (there are many versions of the traditional salad in the universe). The straight forward version does not use peppers or meat. I wanted the salad to be colorful since we often eat with our eyes. My family and I are meat eaters. Plain and simple. We love veggies and can go a few days without eating meat but we always go back to eating fish, fowl, pork and sometimes beef. I offer no apologies to my vegetarian friends. Adding meat is optional.
Like I always say …. make this recipe your own. I did!
2 – 3 cups cubed ciabatta, sour dough bread or french baguette
3 pearl tomatoes cut into wedges
3 slices prosciutto torn into pieces (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 English cucumber
3 oz fresh mozzarella torn into pieces
3 oz fresh feta cubed
½ red pepper seeded and cut into chunks
½ yellow pepper seeded and cut into chunks
½ orange pepper seeded and cut into chunks
½ cup kalamata olives pitted
¼ cup red onion thinly sliced
¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese (garnish)
4 tbsp olive oil
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
Place ingredients into a small jar and shake to blend. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and allow to crisp up but not toast. Shake and toss the bread cubes to make sure they do not burn. Let cool and set aside.
Cut cucumber in half and scoop out the center then cut the cucumber into chunks. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add prosciutto, feta, mozzarella cheese pieces and bread cubes. Shake dressing then pour over salad and gently toss to combine all the ingredients. Set salad aside for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours so that the flavors blend together. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese for garnish.