Almost every region in Italy have their own version of ‘Panzanella’, otherwise known as ‘Bread and Tomato Salad’. Some regions add olives, cucumber, lettuce, even boiled eggs. This recipe, however, is based on the Tuscan Panzanella that I love. When you get the chance to visit the region of Tuscany during summer, there is no escaping this salad. 🙂
I have tried this with various kinds of bread, but I always go back to either the white Italian bread or the Tuscan bread (the one without salt). I have always thought sourdough makes everything better, but it did not work for Panzanella. (At least for me 🙂 ). I have seen some people use croutons instead of bread, but again, that is not how I have seen it in Tuscany. When I tried using croutons at home, I did not like it that much. I like plain bread more because it absorbs the vinegar and oil better, hence complementing the basil, tomatoes and onions in every bite.
If you want crunch, then do not remove the crust on the bread. Depending on my mood, I make it with or without the crust. One thing that I ALWAYS do is to remove the core and the seeds of the tomatoes. This lessens the liquid in the salad, without compromising the taste.
I make this in Stockholm the whole year round, not just in the summer. The tricky part with this is the type of tomatoes to use. During winter, I can only use cherry tomatoes, because the big ones are not that good. Admittedly, it’s annoying removing the seeds in cherry tomatoes, because of their size – but as my mother-in-law says, ‘What can you do…?’ 😀
- 1 cup stale Italian bread or any county-style bread, cut into small cubes
- 1 & 1/4 cup tomatoes, core and seeds removed, cut into quarters
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
Combine all the ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Serve and enjoy!