Whether you love tomatoes or just need some ideas of what to make with an abundance of home-grown fresh tomatoes, here’s my favorite summer tomato salad: Panzanella. This traditional Italian bread and tomato salad is one of my all-time favorites and I make it almost every week during July and August, when tomatoes are at their tastiest.
You can add chicken to this for a flavorful meal or enjoy as a Mediterranean side dish or light lunch or dinner.
1 loaf Ciabatta, baguette, sour dough or whole grain bread (stale bread is best) cut into 1-inch cubes
2 pounds ripe tomatoes (variety is best) I use heirloom or grape tomaotes
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
½ cup sliced red onion
½ cup diced cucumber
Fresh garlic, diced to taste
6 ounces Mozzarella balls, cut
1 cup fresh basil, torn
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until they are dried out and pale golden brown at the edges, about 7 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Cut tomatoes as desired. Add mozzarella, onions, chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil until the mixture is thickened. Stir in cucumbers and basil.
- Add bread cubes, cucumber mixture and capers to the tomatoes and toss well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving. Toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar and salt if needed just before serving.