One of the most famous and traditional Italian salad recipes is the panzanella salad. Panzanella is a bread salad native to the Tuscan region of Italy. This is a very healthy salad, which is very filling as well as very tasty. The strong favors of the garlic, vinegar and the oregano wonderfully get balanced with the rustic flavor of the bread and as a result, give rise to a fresh and colorful salad which is perfect for summer.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 4-6
Time required for preparation: 10-15 minutes
Time required for cooking: 5-10 minutes
1 grill pan
1 large mixing bowl
Salad tossing spoons
3-4 thick slices of stale Italian bread
2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
3-4 red tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
½ orange bell pepper, seeded and cubed
A pinch of dried oregano
A handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cucumber, deseeded and cubed
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
Salt, to taste
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and cubed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method of Preparation
1. Take a stale bread and cut it into thick slices. Once done, drizzle some olive oil on both the sides of each bread slice and then set aside the bread slices for 10-15 minutes to allow them to soak up the olive oil. In the meantime, take a grill pan and place it on the stove. Light up the flame and adjust it to set it on high. Let the grill heat up and in the meantime, you can prepare the vegetables for the salad.
2. To prepare the vegetables, put them in a colander and then rinse them individually under slow running water. Once thoroughly rinsed, place the colander on your working table and take out the cucumber from it. Place the cucumber on your chopping board and then cut off the tip and base of it.
Peel the cucumber and then cut it in half lengthwise. Then cut out the seeds from the cucumber halves. Once the seeds are removed, take the cucumber halves and chop them into small bite-sized pieces.
3. Then take the onion and peel off its skin. Cut the onion in half and then slice the onion halves thinly along the grain. Next, take the bell peppers and cut them in halves. Cut off the core and seeds from the bell pepper halves and then cut them into small bite sized pieces. Then take the tomatoes and cut them into large wedges. Finally, take the garlic clove and peel it. Once the vegetables are chopped, put them into a large bowl, except for the garlic cloves.
4. Once the grill pan heats up, place the oiled bread slices on the pan to grill them. Grill the bread slices for 2-3 minutes on one side and then flip them to grill the other sides as well. Once the breads are nicely grilled on both sides, take them off the grill pan and put them on a plate. Then immediately rub the peeled garlic on one side of the breads. Once done, set aside the plate to allow the breads to cool down.
5. Then take the fresh basil leaves and chop them roughly. Add the basil leaves, salt, black pepper and the dried oregano to the vegetables in the bowl. Once the bread slices cool down cut them into large chunks and then add them to the vegetables.
Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top and then toss the bread pieces with the vegetables to mix the vinegar and the oil with all the other ingredients. Once ready, let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving it.