Heirloom tomato panzanella salad

Panzanella is a rustic Italian bread salad. It’s hard not to like a salad that boasts bread as a main ingredient. But the real star of the show is actually the heirloom tomatoes. August is peak tomato season, which means tomatoes are at their sweetest and juiciest.

To make them even better, I used Serious Eats / Kenji Alt Lopez’s tip and salted the tomatoes beforehand. The result? A more delicious, more concentrated tomato-y flavor.

Some panzanella salads have kalamata olives, but I used green olive bread from San Francisco’s Acme Bakery instead. It adds the perfect tang to this salad and serves as a great foil to the sweet tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups stale sourdough baguette or boule, cut into 1 inch chunks (Note: does NOT have to be day old)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 large basil leaves, roughly torn

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss bread cubes in 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, or until cubes are slightly crispy. Remove from oven, set aside, and let cool.
  2. Put a colander over a large bowl. Place tomatoes in colander and season with 2 teaspoons of sea salt, tossing gently with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 20 minutes. You should have some tomato juices in your bowl.
  3. To your tomato juice, add remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and black pepper. Whisk together. Now add your tomatoes, bread, and basil and toss together. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve. Note: this must be eaten the day you make it.

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