Panzanella…A taste of Tuscany in Alaska
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
2 Pounds fresh juicy tomatoes, any kind, chopped
4 Cups stale bread slices, soaked in ice water
1 Red onion or shallot, sliced thin
20 Basil leaves, chopped or torn
Red wine vinegar to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste (start with @ 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine tomatoes with basil and onion. Season with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Squeeze out excess water from bread and tear apart, so you have rough bite-size chunks. Mix with salad and refrigerate. Taste before serving and add more seasonings if needed. This salad can last for days in the fridge.
Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan bread and tomato salad that takes advantage of summer-ripened tomatoes and basil. It also uses up any old bread you have on hand. As with most Italian dishes, it is simple, but using the freshest ingredients make it FANTASTIC! I actually grew all the veggies and the basil in my backyard (thank you Midnight Sun)!
A note on the bread – unsalted Tuscan bread is optimum, but most of us don’t have access to that. I have found a French baguette or some similarly crusty loaf works great, whatever you have on hand. When you soak the bread in water, it needs to be fully wet but not so much that it gets slimy and falls apart. About 10 minutes should do the trick. –Patti