Panzanella ~ Tuscan bread and tomato salad

Rating: 4.6. From 9 votes.
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Panzanella ~ Tuscan bread and tomato salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Panzanella ~ Tuscan bread and tomato salad

This is a great dish to make a couple of hours in advance in the summer, to have ready waiting for you in the fridge when you get back home. It is light yet satisfying.

Ingredients

  • 6 large slices (around 400g, just under1lb) firm (stale, 2 to 3 days old is perfect!) Tuscan-style bread (or firm farmhouse loaf )
  • 3 tablespoons wine or apple vinegar
  • Half a cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and chopped medium
  • 500 g (around lb) tasty, firm tomatoes, skinned and chopped medium
  • Half a small, sweet onion, very finely sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes to decorate, halved (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely or crushed (optional)
  • 1 stick celery, very finely sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. EITHER: Soak the bread in water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out the water very, very well and crumble. Place in a large serving dish (traditional Tuscan method, giving an almost tabbouleh-like texture)
  2. OR: Cut the bread into small (1 cm, 1/2 inch) cubes. Place in a large serving dish (modern method that works well with all kinds of bread and gives more bite to the texture).
  3. Add a pinch of salt, some pepper, another splash of vinegar, the garlic (if using) and half the oil. Mix well.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, the chopped basil, the garlic and celery (if using) and the rest of the oil.
  5. Cover well and chill for at least an hour before serving for the flavours to infuse well.
  6. Decorate with cherry tomatoes if you like.

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