Panzanella [pantsaˈnella] is a wonderful option for warm summer nights. It is a salad with bread! What could be better than that? Try this for your Saturday night enjoyment and if you need a little extra protein, grill some seafood to serve on the side with perhaps a chopped tomato and watermelon salsa.
What you need for Panzanella salad:
- 3 cups of your lettuce of choice: sweet butter, romaine, a little arugula.
- 4-5 ounces or about 3 cups of Italian bread or baguette, stale or toasted. Rip/cut into small cubes, maybe an inch or so.
- 2 pounds of heirloom tomatoes- mix up the colors. I used red and yellow. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- one small red onion thinly sliced.
- thinly sliced baby cucumbers- 2-3 depending on the size.
- 1/4 cup of mixed olives.
- handful of shredded basil leaves.
- same with the parsley.
- 2-3 good-sized balls of Burrata.
- Reduction of Balsamic Vinegar to drizzle. I prefer the brand Fini Modena with Porcini Mushrooms.
What you need for Panzanella salad dressing:
- 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- juice of a whole lemon, maybe a little pulp and zest for good measure.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- few shakes of capers.
What to do for the salad:
- If you are toasting the bread, you can rub with olive oil and crushed fresh garlic and bake/broil in the oven until toasted. If not, hold aside for now.
- Using a large round bowl about 2 inches in depth, create the salad working from the outside leaving a space in the middle for the Burrata.
- Start with the lettuce, add the onions, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.
- Sprinkle the toasted bread cubes intermittently.
- Place the balls of Burrata in the center.
- Now make the dressing:
Dressing a Panzanella Salad:
In a small glass measuring dish (Pyrex) add the ingredients. It’s your call if you like the lemon flavor strong or weak. Add the capers last. I use my favorite seasoning, “ariosto Aglio e Peperoncino”. It is spicy and good. If you do not have something like this, use a smidge of red pepper flakes. Now whisk it up and you are good to go.
Finish it: finiscilo:
Drizzle the olive oil dressing over the salad working from the outside in. Then take the balsamic reduction and drizzle over the entire salad. You can add a little extra over the Burrata.
Serve and enjoy perhaps with a nice light (Italian) white wine.