Panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) is a great no-cook dish for those summer days when temperatures get into the 80s and beyond. It’s simple, delicious and can be made with local, seasonal produce — tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and basil. Here is a traditional recipe, which uses no animal products, and some variations with cheese and other additions.
Basic (Vegan) Panzanella
Ingredients per person
2 thick slices of good — but stale — country bread
1/2 beefsteak tomato, cut into large cubes
1 Persian cucumber, sliced
2-3 thin slices of red onion, quartered
A few leaves of basil, torn into pieces by hand
Seasonings to taste
Red wine or balsamic vinegar
Run some cold water over the bread slices for a few seconds to wet them through. Then squeeze very gently to get the excess water out. Crumble the bread into big chunks in a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Toss the salad gently, add the seasonings and toss again. Voila!
1) Add feta and pitted black olives.
2) Add a quartered hard-boiled egg and capers.
3) Add a couple of anchovies.