By: a Couple Cooks

Summer always seems to slip away, doesn’t it? July is halfway gone, and we feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of our summer checklist. Trip to beach in Michigan? Berry picking at a local farm? Guess it will wait until next year.

Luckily we have another few months of tomato season here in Indiana, so we can continue to enjoy the tastes of summer at least. We ran across some lovely multi-colored cherry tomatoes and bell peppers at our local market, and were inspired to make a panzanella. If you’re not familiar, panzanella is an Italian bread salad that combines dried, crusty bread squares with fresh vegetables and a vinaigrette. It’s a genius idea for using up old bread, and extraordinarily delicious. You can use any fresh veggies you have on hand, but traditional ones are tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and sometime cucumber (though we did not use it here).

We used this recipe to help break in our new kitchen with some friends (a sneak peak is here, but we’ll be posting a series about the reno in several week). What’s your favorite summertime dish? Did you get to enjoy it this season?

Panzanella

Panzanella with Cherry Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

Makes: 4 to 6 as a side

What You Need

  • Crusty bread, cut into bite-size pieces (3 cups; substitute gluten-free bread if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers (one yellow, red, green)
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves (chiffonade)
  • ⅓ cup chopped almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

What To Do

  1. Preheat an oven to 450F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt and ground pepper. Spread the bread in a single layer and bake until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables: wash the vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the bell peppers. Thinly slice half red onion. Finely dice one clove garlic. Chiffonade enough for 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves. Chop enough for ⅓ cup chopped almonds.
  4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl or canning jar, combine remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, and diced garlic. Season with kosher salt and pepper and whisk together (or shake jar vigorously).
  5. In a large bowl, add together all components: chopped vegetables, dressing, almonds, basil, and toasted bread. (If making in advance, add toasted bread, basil, and almonds last to avoid becoming soggy.) Best eaten about 20 minutes after assembling. Leftovers are delicious, but bread will become soggy after a few hours.

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart