The cute name Panzanella comes from the Italian word “pan”, which means bread. Panzanella is loaded with bright flavors and fragrant herbs like mint and basil. The ideal leftover dish, as it is made from 2-to-3-day-old bread. Gluten-free bread will work perfectly here. The bread cubes soak up all the flavors, so it will get better as it sits a few hours. The dressing is identical to the dressing in Caesar’s salad, minus the anchovies, and even that could be included if you would like. Panzanella is versatile and will lend itself perfectly to the addition of some white beans, shredded lettuce or spinach, roasted pepper, even diced cooked fish or sliced smoked salmon (in this case no cheese).
- 1 pound loaf whole grain bread, gluten-free ok, cut into small cubes
- 1 seedless cucumber, sliced very thin
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced very thin
- 3 large tomatoes, or 6 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup nicoise or oil-cured olives
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed, cut in ribbons
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, packed, cut in ribbons
- Optional: 1 cup tiny cubes strong cheese, such as feta, cheddar or kashkeval
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 bunch flat parsley, stems and leaves
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste (you might not need any salt: taste first)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, about half a minute. If the dressing gets too thick as it sits, thin it with a little more water. Makes about 2 cups. Store in a glass jar.
Place all salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing (recipe follows) over the salad and toss, preferably 2-3 hours before serving. If you decide to serve it with salad leaves, toss them in just before serving.