Does it hurt your heart a little every time you have to throw away stale bread? I have never really actually had to do this being that my meal-time motto is "no bread left behind," but maybe it happens to other people. If you are like me, and don't have stale bread laying around, you can ask the bakery department at your grocery store if they have any day-old bread, or you can just dry some fresh bread out in the oven like I did. Panzanella is one of my favorite go-to dishes all year round. How could anyone not like panzanella?! It is basically a bread salad! I make it with whatever seasonal veggies I have in the fridge, and it is so quick and easy! My sweet friend brought me some cherry tomatoes from her garden, and I had fresh basil in the back, so I just started building this recipe from there.
First, I had to get my bread ready. Since I was using fresh bread, I preheated my oven to 400 degrees, cut the bread into cubes, tossed the cubes in olive oil, and let bake for about 10 minutes. Just until they start to harden, but aren't quite a crouton.
While the bread was baking, I prepared my produce. I chopped a pint of cherry tomatoes, diced an avocado, and thinly sliced a handful of basil. I added arugula because I love that peppery taste it adds to a dish. I like to put cheese in everything, so I picked up a ball of fresh mozzarella. I used my hands and tore the cheese into bite-size pieces. For the dressing, I whisked together 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Now you just have to mix it all together, and voila! Summer panzanella. This dish is perfect as a light meal or along side a piece of fish or meat. You're gonna love it!
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, cut the bread into cubes, tossed the cubes in olive oil, and let bake for about 10 minutes. Just until they start to harden, but aren't quite a crouton
2. Chop cherry tomatoes, dice avocado, and thinly slice basil
3. Use hands and tear the mozzarella into bite-size pieces
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste
5. Add all produce, mozzarella, bread, and dressing to a large bowl and toss
You can serve immediately, but I like to let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour prior to serving.