Aren't we loving this part of summer, with all the fresh tomatoes and basil? I sure wish we had a longer growing season here in Michigan. Here's a great summer salad that uses all those tomatoes and basil and is as beautiful as it is delicious.
Panzanella salad in Italy was used as a way to make use of leftover, stale bread. You would take the bread and soak it in water until it had softened up a bit and toss it with onions and tomatoes. My favorite way to make panzanella salad, though, is to grill the bread, toss it with tomatoes, basil and cheese and drizzle a little oil and vinegar over it.
Use really good quality olive oil if you can - it makes a big difference!
Grilled Panzanella Salad
for a printable recipe, click here
Ingredient quantities here are approximate. Adjust them any way you like.
- 1 small loaf good quality bread
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 small bunch basil leaves
- 1 8-ounce tub mozzarella balls, "ciliegini", packed in water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I like red wine or herb)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Prepare a grill or, if you can't grill outside, heat a grill pan on the stove. Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices. Grill both sides until golden. Rub the grilled bread with the raw garlic. Tear the bread into bite sized chunks and place in a large serving bowl and add the cherry tomatoes.
Tear the basil leaves into the serving bowl. Drain the mozzarella balls and add them to the serving bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lots of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss everything well and serve.