Fresh tomatoes and stale bread make a lovely salad you must try every summer. Italians know it as panzanella. I think you’re safe calling it bread salad if panzanella sounds a little fussy to you.
In a bold (some might say genius) move, Melissa Clark of NYT Cooking adds creamy fresh mozzarella to her panzanella. The dairy gives the finished salad some heft and makes it perfect as a stand alone lunch for the hottest days of summer when all you want to do is stand in front of an open refrigerator with a spoon and nibble on something cold.
In this salad, cubes of crusty bread are toasted, then tossed with chunks of ripe tomatoes, cucumber and fresh mozzarella. A garlicky red wine vinaigrette brings it all together. Grab a sprig of fresh basil from the pot on the patio for a flavorful garnish.
Panzanella with Mozzarella Recipe
based on Melissa Clark’s recipe on NYT Cooking
A sturdy, rustic loaf like a baguette is what you need for this salad. Squishy sandwich bread will not work.
3 cups stale bread, cubed
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, 1-inch dice
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks
1/2 cup diced red onion (1/2 small onion)
1/2 cup diced cucumber (1 small or 1/2 regular size)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Fresh basil for garnish
- Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, toss together bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a bit of salt. Spread on sheet pan and bake for about 10 minutes. The cubes will be golden brown and toasty.
- In the bowl, toss together tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion, cucumber and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a jar or measuring cup, mix together red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Pour over salad ingredients. You can eat this right away, but it’s best if you cover it and set it in the refrigerator for up to four hours.
- When you’re ready to serve, toss the salad and check for seasoning. It may need more salt, pepper and vinegar. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.