Heirloom Tomato "Panzanella" Salad

By Tommy Hensel
July 26, 2010
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Heirloom Tomato "Panzanella" Salad

Author Notes: I have always loved the concept of a good, Tuscan panzanella salad to use up leftover stale bread. Over the years, I’ve played around with ingredients, and this is my favorite simple combination that allows the flavor of the heirloom tomatoes to really shine. I know “traditional” recipes use vinegar, but I prefer the lightness of the lemon juice. You can serve it ‘as is’ or spoon it on top of a bed of green. I like using arugula, to add a little bitter, peppery flavor to the recipe.Tommy Hensel

Serves: 6 - 8

  • 1 cup stale bread, crusts removed and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups ripe, heirloom tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 8-10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 small red onion, thinly slices, rings separated
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place the bread into a large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients, a little salt and a little pepper. Toss well, and set aside for at least ½ hour to let the flavors meld. Toss the salad to mix and then serve. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and additional salt and pepper if desired.

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