Panzanella is a bread salad that originated from Tuscany although you can now find it in many variations across Italy. This is an easy salad recipe which is a wonderful way to use up stale bread, and expresses the Tuscan mentality of simplicity with the use of fresh, ripe, ingredients. You must use coarse textured good quality bread, as most bread from the grocery store will become gummy. The Tuscan saltless bread is ideal for this recipe, and holds up really well. The dressing ingredients are really just an approximation as you really need to taste your salad to see if it needs more vinegar or oil. The bread acts like a sponge, soaking up the tomato juices and dressing and depending on the texture of bread you use, you may need a little more dressing than suggested. You can vary the ingredients to suit your own taste, and my salad changes often depending on what is in my refrigerator or fresh from the garden when I’m making it.
I am not a huge fan of the typical very salty anchovies in the can, but I do love these white anchovies and find they do not overpower the other flavors in this salad. White anchovies are fresh, and are packed in a mixture of vinegar and oil and have a much milder flavor than the usual canned variety. In this version of Panzanella, I kept things simple, and chose to use tomatoes, arugula, onions, black olives, white anchovies and then some shaved Pecorino cheese to garnish the plate.
Deborah Mele 2013
Panzanella With White Anchovies
- 8 Ounces Stale Saltless Italian Bread, Cut Into Cubes
- 4 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped
- 1 Small Onion, Diced
- 10 Pitted Black Olives, Chopped
- 2 Cups Fresh Arugula
- 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 8 White Anchovies
- 1/4 Cup Shaved Pecorino Cheese
- Break the bread into pieces, and soak briefly in water until moistened.
- Carefully squeeze dry.
- Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
- Place the bread in a bowl and add the tomatoes, onion, olives, and arugula, and mix well.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Divide onto two plates, then garnish with the anchovies and cheese shavings.