I understand that there is irony in putting bread in your salad but it really is probably one of the best inventions since, well, sliced bread. Do you notice a trend here? I think the trend is, bread.
Panzanella is an Italian dish sometimes referred to as “leftover salad” and is usually made with cubed or sliced bread, tomaoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and sometimes additional herbs or vegetables. Last year I made a three tomato panzanella with fresh heirloom, Roma and cherry tomatoes, capers and chopped fresh basil.
This recipe only utilizes one tomato varietal and adds cucumber and red onion for a little extra crunch and kick. Make this salad a day before you plan on serving it to let the flavors blend together. The bread will soak up the dressing and it will be oh-so-good.
3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 large or 4 medium-sized tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into wedges
3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
10 fresh basil leaves, shredded (or 1 tablespoon dried, chopped basil, in a pinch)
In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.
Note: for best results, make this up to a day in advance.