Panzanella with Mozz + Herbs

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Panzanella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh

There’s still time – tomato season isn’t over yet! This is a perfect end of summer salad. It combines some of our favorite seasonal ingredients, tomato, cucumber, and basil, with year-round essentials, namely cheese (mozzarella) and bread. On self-respecting nights, when we manage not to finish off a whole baguette, we let a portion go stale and make this delicious Tuscan bread salad the next evening for dinner.  Traditional panzanella calls for stale bread, uber ripe tomatoes, a dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sometimes onions and basil. This oomph-ed up version comes from our favorite lady Melissa Clark. The cucumber adds freshness and crunch and the mozzarella makes it a heartier salad, worthy of eating as a main meal instead of a side. Make sure to enjoy this salad before summer is officially over!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 of a baguette or rustic loaf (preferably stale) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tomatoes, use a mix of varieties and colors!
  • 6 oz mozzarella, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots (or 1/2 red onion) thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated to a paste
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or a combination)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Persian or English cucumber, cut into thin quarter pieces
  • 1/2 cup torn basil
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 TBS of capers, drained

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425ºF. Spread bread pieces onto a baking sheet and toss with 2 TBS olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Bake until golden brown and dried out, about 7-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Cut tomatoes into pieces just a bit smaller than the bread cubes. Put them into a large bowl and then thinly slice the shallots lengthwise.
  3. Add the shallots into the bowl and use a microplane to grate 2 cloves of garlic into a paste. Along with the garlic paste, add 1 TBS vinegar, oregano or thyme, 1/4 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Cut up the mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl, toss everything together and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine 1 TBS vinegar, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper. While continuously whisking, add 4 TBS olive oil one-by-one to the dressing. Stir in cucumbers, basil, and parsley.
  6. Add bread pieces, dressing, and capers to the large bowl and mix well. Let it sit and soak for at least 30 minutes, up to 6 hours. You can keep chilled in the fridge. Add extra oil, vinegar or salt if needed!

Notes: Serves 3-4 as a main meal, 6 as a side.

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