Tuscan Classic: Panzanella

Tuscan Classic: Panzanella

© Shutterstock

Tuscan Classic: Panzanella

Tuscan Classic: Panzanella

© Shutterstock

Opinions differ about the origins of this bread salad. While some believe it was invented by fishermen out of necessity because galleys offered only limited options for hearty meals, others believe it was an economical way to use up stale bread.

However, panzanella salad is one of the great classics of Italian cuisine. The combination of not-quite-crusty bread slowly softening in delicious olive oil, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and salt tastes unique. 

By the way: any kind of bread and vegetables can be used for panzanella. In summer, the salad tastes best with many colourful tomato varieties.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

250
g
stale bread
olive oil
2
clove
garlic, unpeeled
4
vine tomatoes
2
small cucumbers
1
red onion, peeled
salt
1/4
cup
red wine vinegar
1 small
glass
water
brown sugar
black pepper, freshly ground
basil leaves
  • Cut the bread into 2cm cubes and preheat the oven to 140°C.
  • Spread the bread cubes out on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Press the garlic cloves and put them on the baking tray. Toast the bread cubes until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, wash and halve the tomatoes and dice the cucumbers. Finely chop the red onion and put it in a bowl, salt it and let it stand for about 10 minutes (this reduces the sharpness of the onion).
  • Add the tomatoes and cucumbers and season with olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Finally, add the basil leaves and bread cubes, mix well and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.

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