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Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

added about 3 years ago

Not a definitive answer for you, but as a follower of Chocolate & Zucchini, I remembered reading Clotilde's discussion of the authenticity of panzanella recipes: http://chocolateandzucchini... No comment on the wringing out of bread, but it seems that cubing and toasting the bread is definitely out!

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added about 3 years ago

I go with my own personal preference, which is to use stale hearty bread chunks and then make the panzanella 30 min ahead of time. That way, the bread softens up a bit but not too much.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

Stale bread of course. But it really only needs a spritz of water and not a deep soak. It should be wet and softer than a crouton but not by much. It's not supposed to be baby food. And it get's some vinegar too. Here's my own method; http://food52.com/recipes...

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

Thanks, all, for the input. And thanks, Pierino, for including the link to your version -- I'll check it out!

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

Thanks, Pamela, that really explains the bread-soaking thing! Hmm, sounds like some adaptation is necessary for bread made in the U.S.. In any case, I'd love to see your recipe!

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Pamela Sheldon Johns

Pamela Sheldon Johns is the author of numerous cookbooks, the most recent being Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking. She lives at

added about 3 years ago

Panzanella, Bread Salad
From Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Pub Andrews McMeel)
Serves 6

Panzanella is one of several classic recipes using dry or day-old bread. Many American versions use croutons, but the authentic version is made with a dry bread that is soaked in water to reconstitute it, then is mixed with tomato, cucumber, basil, and onion, and dressed with olive oil and vinegar. In hard times, it was often made with just bread and onion, but today you may see such additions as tuna, green beans, bell peppers, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, and capers.

1 pound day-old country-style bread, cut into several pieces
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs basil for garnish

Place the bread in a large bowl and add water to cover. Let soak for 15 minutes. Squeeze the bread with your hands and discard the soaking water. Place the bread in a medium bowl with the tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic and vinegar. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the dressing with the bread mixture, then garnish with basil sprigs and serve at once.

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C6154d92 6509 47b4 a328 e9e9eff2552d  garden me
Pamela Sheldon Johns

Pamela Sheldon Johns is the author of numerous cookbooks, the most recent being Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking. She lives at

added about 3 years ago

And...
Panzanella from Williams-Sonoma Italian
by Pamela Sheldon Johns, photo by Noel Barnhurst

3 cups day-old Italian bread cubes
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic and vinegar. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the dressing with the salad, garnish with basil, and serve at once.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

Thanks for posting these, Pamela!