At peak freshness, tomatoes are begging to be the star ingredient for your summer salad, so highlight them at your next BBQ with this simple Italian summer salad, Panzanella.
I’m savoring every last bite of summer with this vibrant dish complete with crusty, crunchy croutons to soak up all their juices. If you think it looks good today, just wait until tomorrow, when the leftovers are even tastier.Print
Panzanella – Mediterranean Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- 3 cup toasted croutons, cut into inch size cubes (I cube a loaf of SOURDOUGH BREAD and dry it overnight, but you could also put it in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes)
- 2 lb ripe tomatoes
- 4–5 Persian cucumbers
- 1 red bell pepper
- half a red onion, sliced thin and soaked in a mixture of a few tablespoons of sherry vinegar and water (this mellows the sharp onion flavor)
- 10 oz fresh mozzarella
- 1 avocado
- large handful fresh basil
- 1 cup Vinaigrette dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice sourdough bread into thick pieces, then across, and finally into large cubes, about an inch thick. I leave it on a baking sheet overnight to dry, but you could also toast it on the oven for a few minutes. Drying out the bread helps ensure it won’t get soggy when mixed with all the vegetables.
- Cut all the vegetables the same size – tomatoes, cucumbers, vinegar-soaked red onions and red bell peppers, so the flavors in every bite.
- toss the veggies, along with cubed sourdough croutons, ripe avocado and fresh mozzarella and a generous pinch of salt, in a large salad bowl.
- Top with the ripped basil and the croutons.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently.
- Let it marinate for at least half an hour, then toss again gently and serve.
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
- Category: Dressings
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- pinch of sugar
- 1 tsp of fresh herbs (you can use parsley, dill, chives, or if using dried herbs, Herbs de Provence works best, but reduce to half a teaspoon)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Chop the garlic, add some salt and mash my knife back and forth until it becomes a paste, so you don’t bite into any raw garlic pieces. Add Dijon mustard, herbs, salt, cracked pepper, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.
I store it in a mason jar for easy pouring.
Keywords: Lemon Herb Vinaigrette