Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

Mary, my mother-in-law, makes this fabulous panzanella salad that I just can not eat enough of. I love salad - but add chunks of crusty bread to it & I love it more!

I found some amazing green zebra heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store & couldn't wait to make them the star of a simple dinner.  I didn't have all the ingredients for the salad that Mary makes so I made the simple tomato salad my mom always makes but I added yummy chunks of bread! 

Click through for the recipe & make this salad tonight!

  • 2 large green zebra heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for toasting the bread)*
  • 1/2 loaf of walnut bread (about 2 cups)
  • salt & pepper

Make it!
  1. Cut the tomatoes & onion into evenly sized pieces.  Add to a large bowl.
  2. Mince garlic, add to tomatoes.
  3. Chiffonade basil leaves, add to mixture.
  4. Toss the mixture in olive oil. Salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap & set aside for 30 minutes (your tomatoes will create a yummy juice, so the longer it sits the better).
  6. Cut bread into bite-sized cubes.
  7. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan. Add bread, stir often to toast evenly.
  8. Remove the bread from heat & toss with salt & pepper.
  9. Add bread & tomato mixture together in a (very) large bowl. Toss & serve.
*I used garlic & basil infused olive oil but regular olive oil will work just great! What is garlic & basil infused olive oil? It just means I chopped up some garlic & basil, added it to olive oil & let the oil absorb all of the flavors.  This is easy to do ahead of time & to keep on hand for lots of things!

P dot S: As you may be able to tell (if you've read any of my previous posts) we eat a fair amount of pasta at chateau O'Hara, we're not on a carb-free diet & we've got plenty of meat to stick to our bones.  This salad is an alternative to making pasta (for me).  So if you're looking for a light salad - lose the bread & add some arugula. But if you're looking for a more hearty salad & a simple dinner then carb it up with some bread!


  1. This can also take:
    - the refreshing addition of chunked peeled (or not) cucumber. Just don't add until ready to serve otherwise it will absorb too much oil
    - a little meatless protein, add fresh mozzarella chunks or mini-balls (if you can find them)
    - a little more color and zip add slivers of sun-dried (or home-made dehydrated) tomatoes packed in olive oil
    - chunks of left-over cooked fish (broiled or baked) like salmon or tuna (fresh is best but canned in water would do)
    - sliced pitted olives (any kind, as you know I love my olives!)
    The last two suggestions were from Mr Carmello, the Pearl River tailor who told me that is how the Italians he grew-up with serve their fresh tuna in the summer.