Traditional Tuscan bread salads start with bread that stales quickly, having been made without salt. Here, I rub it with garlic and brush with oil, then throw it on the grill, to get an even tastier result.
Rustic Tuscan Panzanella Bread Salad
- Yield: 8 - 10
- 1 ½ cups tomato juice (or two 5.5 ounce cans)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 6 Salt-Packed Anchovies, soaked for 5 minutes, rinsed, bones pulled out, and patted dry
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound loaf 1-2 day-old chewy good-quality bread (I like sourdough with seeds), cut in 1 ½” wide slices (about 5 slices)
- Garlic and oil to brush the bread
- 3 large ripe tomatoes (combo of red and yellow), cut into large chunks
- One 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 bunch of watercress, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 bunch scallions (about 5 or 6), sliced
- ½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives
- One 4-ounce jar of caper berries in brine, drained
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
- Make the vinaigrette: Combine the first six ingredients in a blender and puree until the garlic and anchovies are incorporated. With the motor running, pour the olive oil in a thin stream, until all is incorporated and the dressing is emulsified.
- Rub the bread slices on both sides with a smashed garlic clove and brush with olive oil. Grill over a hot grill or toast both sides under the broiler or in toaster. Let cool, and then tear into large bite-sized pieces. You should have about 8 cups of bread chunks. Spread out on a sheet pan and let “stale up” a bit more. You can prep to this stage several days ahead. Once they are dried out, store in a zip bag.
- Two hours before serving, toss the stale bread cubes with ¾ cup Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette. Set aside.
- When ready to serve, add the remaining ingredients and toss with additional vinaigrette, as needed.
This recipe will make about 2 ⅔ cup of Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette. The Panzanella will use about 1 ½ cups. It's so tasty you won't be sorry to have leftovers. I stopped short of giving you the ratios needed to fill a tub, but you may want to bathe in it. Just sayin.