Light Whole Wheat Panzanella (Bread Salad)
Summer is here. In full swing I must say. During afternoon, it gets unbearable in the kitchen and cooking lunch takes a toll. More than I hold the knife and spoon, I hold the handkerchief to keep wiping off my sweat. Such torture!
I don't make this bread salad as much throughout the year as I do during the summer months alone. It doesn't require any cooking you see, only chopping and mixing. Such a welcome break from the stove.
Besides, it's light, healthy and very refreshing... a perfect summer lunch!
Panzanella originated in Italy and is one of their staple food in summer. Almost every town there has their own version of this dish. Panzanella is basically a salad with the primary ingredient being bread that is a day old. Fresh vegetables and herbs are added along with some capers and olives. A dressing usually includes vinegar and oil which isn't made separately but just added with all the other ingredients.
Today's Panzanella recipe is a Tuscan one traditionally made with Pane di Prato, a coarse saltless bread. You can use any bread though that's a day old. I used my Light Whole Wheat Bread for this recipe.
So let's enjoy a cooking free lunch today :)
Recipe Source: Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno
Makes 4 servings
6 slices day old bread
1 kg / 2lb fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned and seeded
1/2 cucumber, peeled
125 grams / 4 ounces black olives, pitted and halved
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
6 basil leaves, torn
90 ml / 3fl ounces / 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
30 ml / 1fl ounce / 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the bread into 1.5 cms / 1/2 inch cubes and put them in a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes and cucumber and add to the bowl with the olives, onion, capers and basil.
Add the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, then leave for 1 hour at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend well.
Toss everything thoroughly. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required before serving.