Panzanella (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olives pitted
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chiffonade, for garnish
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 large tomatoes ripe, seeded, peeled, julienned
  • 1 loaf Italian bread country-style, coarse, textured, day old
  • 1 large red onion julienned
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced

Instructions

  1. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes. Place on a large cookie sheet and toast lightly in oven.
  2. Prepare tomatoes; reserve 1/2 cup tomatoes julienne for garnish. Place tomatoes on top of bread cubes.
  3. Soak the red onions in water for 20 minutes. Drain and place in bowl with tomatoes and bread cubes.
  4. Add garlic, olives, vinegar, and mozzarella. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add basil torn into small pieces.
  5. Add olive oil and toss gently.
  6. Allow the salad to set at room temperature for 2 hours so that the flavors are thoroughly absorbed by the bread.
  7. Garnish with the reserved tomatoes julienne and the basil chiffonade.
Additional Tips

A good use of day-old bread.

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