Panzanella salad is the epitome of summer to me. While traveling throughout Italy in the summer, we’ve enjoyed trying out many variations of this traditional bread salad. Italians tend to be thrifty folks and find uses for everything, including stale bread. This delicious salad uses stale bread cubes moistened and then mixed with sweet peach slices, slivers of red onions, ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh herbs. This is one of my family’s favorite summer salads. I often make it during the warmer months, varying the ingredients depending on what seasonal fruits and vegetables are available.
The trick to making a great Panzanella is to use the right bread. The best bread is an unsalted Tuscan style of bread that is at least a day old. If you do not have stale bread, you can bake the bread after cutting it into cubes and baking it at 350 degrees F. for at least ten minutes to dry it out. Depending on how stale your bread is, you may want to drizzle it with water and then squeeze it dry with your fingers. If the bread isn’t too stale, the dressing will moisten it adequately. Use ripe, fragrant peaches, and ripe tomatoes for best results. You can vary the tomatoes and use a combination of yellow and red tomatoes, and heirloom varieties are always delicious. I use fresh mozzarella, particularly buffalo mozzarella if at all possible as it has a creamy, light texture that works perfectly in this salad.
Deborah Mele 2020
- 4 Cups Cubes Stale Italian Bread (See Notes Above)
- 3 Medium Ripe Peaches, Thinly Sliced
- 4 Tomatoes, Sliced
- 1 Small Red Onion, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- 4 Thin Slices Prosciutto
- 8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves, Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped, Plus Extra As Garnish
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- In a large bowl, gently toss all of the salad ingredients except the prosciutto and basil leaves for garnish.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, then drizzle it over the ingredients in the bowl.
- Gently toss, then arrange the salad on a large platter and garnish with the fresh basil.
- Slice the prosciutto in half lengthwise, then twist each piece into a spiral shape and arrange on the platter.
- Add additional salt and pepper as needed and then serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 646Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1426mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 22gProtein: 24g