Make Ahead

Heirloom Tomato and Cornbread Panzanella

June 14, 2021
10 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe calls for day-old cornbread, but if you did not have the foresight to make cornbread yesterday and you need this panzanella today (me! me! this was me), you can expedite the process quite easily. With a few hours to spare before panzanella o’clock, make an 8-inch square slab of your favorite cornbread. Once it is mostly cool, cut the slab into 1-inch cubes and spread them evenly over a large parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. This will be the same sheet you’ll toast the cubes on later! #efficiency. Set the baking sheet out on a counter and let it hang to dry out for a few hours. You’ll have faux day-old bread in no time, and the cubes will be all set to crouton-ify. —Kendra Vaculin

What You'll Need
  • 3 (heaping) cups 1-inch cubes of day-old cornbread (see headnote) — don’t be shy with these, this isn’t called bread salad for nothing
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors (get the weirdest and most bulbous S.O.B.s you can find at the farmers market—that’s how you win summer), chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 to 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup (packed) basil, torn
  • Flaky sea salt, to finish
  1. Place the shallot in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cornbread cubes evenly on top. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss around to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crisp and browned.
  3. Toss the tomatoes, marinated shallot and any vinegar in the bowl, a serious drizzle of olive oil, and mozzarella together in bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes while the whole deal gets juicy. Add in cornbread croutons and half the basil and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, so the bread can soak up juices.
  4. To serve, top with flaky sea salt, the remaining basil, and another turn of black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
  • Jenn Baechle
    Jenn Baechle
  • Shelley Matheis
    Shelley Matheis
  • Smaug
  • Luna Christine Susalski
    Luna Christine Susalski
A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.

16 Reviews

Tory May 16, 2023
I cannot wait to try this! I just made a sweet corn spoon bread and this would be perfect! Tomatoes lend itself perfectly
With the cornbread, I know it will be fabulous! Thankyou for a great recipe ❤️
cholula September 12, 2020
Making it for the second time tonight. I think it is so good. Love fresh garden grown heirloom tomatoes. It is a perfect summer salad. I cut my cornbread in big squares so it doesn't crumble much. Very good recipe.
Gay D. September 4, 2020
What do you mean “The traditional Panzanella calls for sourdough”? Traditional panzanella was a way to use day or two-day old, homemade bread so as not to waste it. That’s the Italian tradition, where the salad was born. The artisan bread soaked up the tomato juices, so to make the bread edible.
Genevieve August 22, 2021
sourdough is an age old country way to make bread, levain in France, biga in Italy, and many other names in different countries
Jenn B. July 12, 2016
This was a perfect use for day old corn bread. Ours was a little crumbly too, but that could have been the recipe I used. We added some shredded chicken breast to make this a little heartier.
Shelley M. July 9, 2016
Another way to expedite 'day old bread'. Put slices in the toaster till they're slightly dry but before they develop color.
Smaug July 8, 2016
time for my annual rant on heirloom tomatoes; it is a horticultural distinction, not a culinary one- the term tells you nothing about the flavor, acid content, liquid content etc. of the tomatoes, it just means that the seeds will come true. Any good tomatoes will do as well for a recipe like this, and how they're grown and harvested will have more to do with the final flavor than the varieties selected. "Heirloom" has, unfortunately, become a buzz word used more to invoke an impression than to convey any actual meaning.
Luna C. July 4, 2016
Wow! This is the first thing I've made from this site - and it was great! My cornbread is so crumbly though (every cornbread I'd ever met has been just that crumbly), it just disintegrated. Still tasted darn good though. Thanks!
Noreen F. June 14, 2016
I can't find my copy of the tomato cobbler recipe, but I think it was this one from Mark Bittman:
Chef D. November 27, 2015
garlic A. August 3, 2015
I haven't had panzanella in forever -- and this is calling my name.
Phyllis G. July 29, 2015
this is a wonderful idea.
Noreen F. July 27, 2015
Somewhere I have a recipe for a tomato cobbler with a cornbread crust that was equally delicious. Tomatoes and cornbread rock!
Sarah J. July 28, 2015
Please find that recipe and share it with us! Sounds great.
Laura415 June 11, 2016
Yes the recipe for that cobbler please:)
KayBee July 27, 2015
Looks like it could also work with a ham/bacon addition.