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 Serves 4-6. Panzanella Croutons: Makes about 6 cups.
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
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
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced
Makes about 6 cups.