Marcy Ragan's Grilled Panzanella Caprese

July 20, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This recipe manages to combine three of our favorite summery Italian staples—tomato caprese + grilled bruschetta + panzanella—in an utterly simple and harmonious, if not entirely traditional, way. Adapted slightly from Marcy Ragan, private chef and caterer at Relish Your Chef.Genius Recipes

Serves: 8 to 12
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 1 sourdough boule (14-16 ounces), sliced about 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed into approximately 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, cubed into approximately 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 to 2 large cloves fresh garlic, papery skin off and left whole
  • 1 cup good olive oil or extra virgin olive oil (you can use 1/2 cup regular olive oil for grilling and 1/2 cup good extra virgin for the salad if you prefer)
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
In This Recipe


  1. Fire up your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. (If you have neither, fire up your broiler.)
  2. In a large bowl that you think can fit all of the ingredients, place the tomatoes and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Gently stir salt through tomatoes.
  3. With a pastry brush/kitchen brush, brush oil onto both sides of each slice of bread and place on a baking sheet or platter large enough to accommodate all of the slices and cloves of garlic. You will probably use about 1/2 cup oil here. The remaining oil is for the salad.
  4. When the bread is grilled on both sides, remove from the heat of the grill.
  5. When the bread is cool enough to touch or holding it with tongs, hold garlic clove in hand and rub over bread gently, both sides. Continue until all bread has garlic on it. With a serrated knife, cut the bread into approximately 3/4-inch cubes.
  6. Taste the tomatoes to see if you want to use more salt, if tomatoes have released a lot of liquid, pour the liquid from the bowl and set aside in a measuring cup. You’ll add it back in later. Add more salt if necessary, to taste.
  7. Add mozzarella to tomatoes. Add basil. Toss together. Add grilled bread cubes to the same bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, and salt. Gently mix together.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour some (1/4 cup to 1/2 cup) of tomato water into salad if you would like it a little more moist. Enjoy!

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Salad|Italian|American|Red Wine|Tomato|Vinegar|Clove|Mozzarella|Quick and Easy|Grill/Barbecue|Serves a Crowd|Weekend Cooking

Reviews (17) Questions (0)

17 Reviews

Coco July 29, 2018
Marcy, do you suggest serving this on grilled bread as an appetizer or is it to be a side dish or a topping for a protein? It sounds delish but just not sure where it fits in the meal. Thanks.
relishyourchef July 29, 2018
Hi Coco! I usually make this dish as a buffet type item. It’s wonderful on its on for a lunch or with a simple grilled fish or chicken. It’s a side dish, really. I wouldn’t use it as a topping for bread, because it has bread in the dish. Enjoy!
cooking44 July 26, 2018
Made this last night and it was a big hit. Will continue making it as long as tomatoes are in season.
relishyourchef July 26, 2018
That is wonderful! Enjoy!
annette July 25, 2018
Lovely looking recipe, thank you! A little confused about step 3: are you grilling the bread on a sheet pan, or just using the pan to catch excess oil? Why is the garlic on the pan? Sorry to be dense, I plan to make this today.
David T. July 25, 2018
I was wondering if the garlic was grilled too? And why not grill bread on grill?
annette July 25, 2018
Yes. That's what I meant to say. Is the sheet pan just to keep things neat during prep? It's inclusion seems to be confusing.
annette July 25, 2018
relishyourchef July 25, 2018
Hiya! You are grilling the bread on the grill. The sheet pan is to hold the bread and the garlic. You are not grilling the garlic. Garlic is to remain raw, as a whole clove, and as you rub it onto the grilled bread, it cooks the garlic a little bit and the flavor seeps into the bread. The sheet pan is just to keep things neat. I am a chef, so everything goes on a sheet pan. Hope this helps, Marcy @relishyourchef
relishyourchef July 25, 2018
Hi, please see answer below!
annette July 25, 2018
Made this for lunch. Delightful! We found we liked a little thinly slivered, then chopped, red onion and a pinch of crushed red pepper, added. Definitely a keeper, thank you!!!<br />Served it with grilled chicken in a honey/lemon/pepper marinade (recent recipe from Kitchn). A forever combination!!
relishyourchef July 25, 2018
Super! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy!
Picholine July 25, 2018
I can’t wait to put that tomato mixture on the grilled bread! Yup! That’s what I’m going to do! Yum!
relishyourchef July 25, 2018
That’s a great idea. Let the tomato mixture have contact with the bread for a little bit before serving so it soaks up the juices. Enjoy!
relishyourchef July 22, 2018
Thank you for reading! Any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. Cheers! Marcy of
Diana C. July 21, 2018
Sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it out.
relishyourchef July 26, 2018
Go for it