Panzanella is an Italian dish made using left over crusty bread, that is mixed with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil, balsamico and salt and pepper. Additional ingredients like capers, garlic, mozzarella, anchovies, sliced onions, olives can also added to the dish. It is really a combination of left over bread, tomatoes and what ever tickles your fancy!
Some crusty bread, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
then you can add your favorite ingredients.
I like to add basil,
a touch of anchovy
a few thin slices of sweet onion
and maybe a couple of mozzarella balls.
What to do:
Make a vinaigrette:
Olive oil, balsamico, shredded basil, maybe a touch of honey, salt and pepper and a tsp of mustard.
Again, you can make your own type of vinaigrette. This is a very versatile dish!
Some recipes toast the cubed bread - now you can do this before you cut it - but just toast lightly,best way in the oven: or else, heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the cubes. Don't over do it though!
Let cool. Sometimes the bread used is not toasted at all - it will just be stale..no worries - this recipe likes stale bread which is what i prefer to use - I like the mushy texture you get!
Roughly chop the tomatoes. I have seen some recipes use cherry tomatoes but i prefer chopped ones. Get the best ones you can find.
Add the tomatoes (and any of the above mentioned ingredients you'd like) to the vinaigrette and let stay for a while.
Add the bread and mix well. Be gentle - you don't want to get the mushy mess just yet!
When ready to serve you can add a drizzle of olive oil over the bread - yum!
The ingredients mentioned above can also be used to make my 'tahlita' a mixture I would make in Malta before a day on the beach. All you do is make a mixture of chopped tomatoes, olive oil, capers, olives, garlic, onion, balsamic, olive oil, maybe anchovies too: prepare the day before and put in a contained with a lid. Then, when you to to the beach, or a picnic, or whatever, take fresh crusty bread, buns or a loaf, and when ready to eat just slap the mixture on top! A kind of Maltese bruschetta!