Panzanella…It’s what’s for dinner!

The other morning I awoke to find a post on my Facebook page from News 12 New Jersey’s Alicia Vitarelli.  She asked what she should make for dinner that night.  I thought about it for a little while.  The response I gave Alicia was what I was making that evening for dinner, a panzanella or bread salad.  Here is my recipe for panzanella salad:

Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad. Use a loaf of round bread that’s anywhere from 2 days to 1 week old. Cut off the top of the loaf & remove the inside of the bread (the doughy part aka the crumb) and reserve. You want to reserve the emptied out bread or crust because that is where you will serve the finished salad. Also reserve the bread top to use as a utensil for the salad.  Cut one red onion in half, remove the skin and thinly slice into half moons.  Chop a handful of fresh basil (about 20 leaves).  Quarter 10 small tomatoes.  I use Campari vine ripened tomatoes.  Tear up the reserved inside of the bread or crumb. Cut one English cucumber into small dice. Put all of these ingredients into a large bowl & toss with about 1 cup of good Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, approximately 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Place the ‘salad’ in the reserved hollowed out bread bowl.  Use a vegetable peeler to “peel” a few thin slices off of a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Put the slices of Parmigiano on top of the salad and serve.  This is an easy, light & refreshing summer dinner. I hope you enjoy.

Note: To take the bite out of the sliced raw red onions, rinse the slices in cold water in a colander before adding them to the salad.

Buon Appetito!

Living to eat,

Tony Mangia


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