When cooking or having anything to do with FOOD, my three loves are: tomatoes, basil and bread. You guessed it! Italian food is one of my favorites. I love making brushetta and here’s another twist with the same ingredients.
Panzanella (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad)
- 4 large vine ripened tomatoes cut into large cubes or wedges
- about 8 cups of Italian bread crusts removed if desired and cubed
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh basil stems removed, washed and dry, tear into pieces with hands
- 1-2 Tablespoons dry basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the bread into cubes. Place into a pan or bowl
- In a small sauce pan, heat the butter and garlic over medium heat until melted
- Pour the butter/garlic mixture over the bread cubes; toss to coat
- Sprinkle the dry basil over the bread as well. It will stick because of the butter/garlic mixture.
- Pour the bread mixture into a casserole type dish so the bread can cook evenly
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes; you just want the bread to get a little crispy
- While the bread is in the oven, cut your tomatoes and wash your fresh basil
- When the bread is ready, pour into a large bowl, and combine the tomatoes, and torn basil. Do not cut the basil with a knife. It will cause the basil to turn black or get dark.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Pour the dressing over the bread salad
- Add salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine. Serve immediately. (If you need to wait a bit before serving, don't pour on the dressing. The bread will absorb everything and will become too soggy. Pour on the dressing right before you eat/serve).