This all started when Matt and I got a baguette at the farmer’s market. It looked too good to pass up. But I always forget how difficult it is to eat a whole baguette with only two people. Every time we get one, it goes a bit stale before were able to finish it. This salad is perfect for that slightly stale bread! Although you definitely need a sharp knife to cut the bread into cubes, sauteing the bread revitalizes it- I actually preferred it to the fresh baguette we got on the first day.
I didn’t change too much from the original recipe by Ina Garten except for a few changes in the vinaigrette and modifications to the ingredients. It’s easy, delicious, and is a great way to highlight all the vegetables available during the summer.
Summer Tomato & Bell Pepper Panzanella Salad
- 1/2 baguette or whole wheat bread of choice, should be quite hearty and have a crunchy crust!, cut into 1’’ cubes
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, I’ve also done rice vinegar when I didn’t have champagne on hand and it worked well; you just need to add a bit more olive oil as the rice vinegar is a bit stronger in acidity than champagne vinegar
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, high quality if possible **see note below on ratios!
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- big pinch black pepper
- 2-3 small heirloom tomatoes of any color, the more color the better, diced into 1’’ cubes (remove seeds to not become too watery)
- 1 large cucumber, diced into 1’’ cubes
- 2-3 bell peppers of different colors, preferably red, yellow, or orange, diced into 1’’ cubes
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
- large handful of basil leaves, chopped lightly
- Place a large pan over medium heat and coat bottom of pan with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). When hot, add in bread cubes and saute until lightly toasted and browned. I think you could try grilling this as well, but I haven’t tried that out (yet!).
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Mix champagne vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, mustard, sea salt, and pepper in a blender until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- Place all the vegetables and toasted bread in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss throughly and serve. I found it best to serve immediately so the bread stays nice and crispy.