Panzanella is an Italian salad that typically consists of the following basic elements: day-old bread, diced onions, and ripe tomatoes. Many other ingredients can be added, but I prefer variations that highlight the pure fresh flavor of in-season tomatoes. This recipe is Top Chef Masters runner up Michael Chiarello's version. Although he says one should peel, seed, and drain the tomatoes, I skip this step all together. With its burst in your mouth tomatoes, crunchy cheesy croutons, and peppery crisp arugula, this is my favorite Summer panzanella. I've made it countless times over the years and my guests are always impressed. To introduce your friends and family to this scrumptious salad, get the recipe.
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably gray salt
Several grinds black pepper
Panzanella Croutons, recipe follows
2 cups trimmed arugula
Wedge Parmesan, for shaving
- In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Add the croutons and toss well.
- Divide tomato mixture among 4 plates. Top each serving with an equal amount of the arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the salad. Serve immediately.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups crustless cubed day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)
Sea salt, preferably gray salt, and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and preheat a cookie sheet in it.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it foams. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese.
- Bake, stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 8 or 9 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 6 cups.
- Salads, Bread