P is for Panzanella

A peasant salad from Tuscany, made with stale leftover bread. Add tomatoes, basil, olive oil, let the flavors seep in to the bread, and devour. Simple food at its best.

Recipe adapted from that bacon lovin' geek, Alton Brown. 🙂


  • 4 cups bread, left out overnight, cut into cubes (try to use a dense bread that won't turn to mush when it touches liquid- sourdoughs work well)
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped cucumber (peel and remove seeds if using big fat ones)
  • 1 tbsp finely minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful of torn basil leaves

Toast the bread lightly on a griddle. Sear the halved grape tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of oil, cut side down, until caramelized.

Combine red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl, slowly whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.

Combine all tomatoes, bread, onion and cucumber and dress with vinaigrette, toss well, garnish with basil and serve.

The best part in this salad is undoubtedly the bread- it soaks up all the sweet-sour-tomato flavor and becomes juicy and luscious and fabulous. My last advice- use lots of bread. 😀

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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22 Responses to P is for Panzanella

  1. Waterbaby says:

    bacon-lovin' geek – lol. I do love that boy though!

  2. Purplesque says:

    Oh, I love him too, despite his bacon lovin' ways. How can you not love a man who uses science to cook?

  3. Aubrey says:

    Oof, that's alot of tomatoes. But I've been dancing around making a bread salad for awhile – it'd be a good way to use up dad's tomatoes – and this looks like a good recipe.
    Ever since he spoke out against stuffing inside a turkey – preferring that it be placed in a cassarole dish – I haven't watched any of Alton's programs.

  4. Purplesque says:

    You could always make the shrimp toast panzanella if you don't like tomatoes- Mark Bittman's 101 salads for the summer, number 57. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/dining/22mlist.html?pagewanted=3I think I remember that episode- didn't it have something to do with food safety? I remember thinking he was going against years of tradition and memories- never a good thing.

  5. Aubrey says:

    That link has soon good ideas! One danger: #50 would have me add 'mayonnaise as needed'. Never a good think to say to me – I'll add the entire jar, no questions asked.
    And as long as the tradition doesn't involve letting the dressing sit inside the cavity of the turkey, there is nothing wrong with stuffing your bird! Yes, I know that sounds wrong!

  6. Brown Suga' says:

    Oooh. Flavours of Tuscany! I like.

  7. Vijay says:

    I could try this at home if I could get my hands on some basil. Do you suggest any other herb as alternate?

  8. Purplesque says:

    Tulsi. Very similar to italian basil. Let me know if you do try it!

  9. Vijay says:

    Of course I'll let you (and the entire world) know if I try to make anything as complicated as a salad with vinaigrette dressing 🙂

  10. That's very cool!And a GORGEOUS picture!

  11. original cin says:

    A feast for the eyes, just caught up with your blog.
    Excellent syling on your pics, as always.

  12. Purplesque says:

    Lol I bet thats a deep metaphor for something- my bird was stuffed a long time ago- maybe similar to the cooked goose?

  13. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Thank you!

  14. Purplesque says:

    Thank you for the comment, and for stopping by. 🙂

  15. Purplesque says:

    He he..you of the gashouse eggs fame? I'm sure you can do a panzanella one-handed. If you don't use vinegar (I didn't back home), fresh lemon juice would make a decent substitute.


  17. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Then get yourself here and I'll make one for you.

  18. thank you so much for coming by and leaving a comment. i miss hearing from you! i've still been following you on my feed reader. you haven't been writing any personal posts though; i'm wondering how you are doing. are you almost done w/ residency?

  19. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Good to see you! I just started my chief year- its a ton of added responsibility, but hopefully will add something to the CV. Debating fellowship vs. waiver job- the decision will depend on our visa issues. I did post a few personal posts a while ago- they may not show up in your reader, since they are neighbor-only. You should be able to see them if you log in, though. Lets keep in touch.

  20. Emjay says:

    LOL – the first line about leaving the bread "out". In my head I saw my mouse thinking we had left him a banquet! I would omit the cucumber and then it would be truly delicious! 🙂

  21. I'm going to use this photo as my wallpaper.

  22. Purplesque says:

    *shamefaced* The original recipe doesn't have cucumbers- I just wanted to use the farmers market extras we had.That mouse really needs to stop partying.

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