Heirloom Tomato and Basil Panzanella


by Lynne Vea, PCC Natural Markets Chef


Posted on July 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 16 at 2:36 PM

This salad is definitely one of the darlings of summer! Great rustic bread is toasted in olive oil and tossed with juicy heirloom tomatoes, capers and a tangy vinaigrette

(Serves 6-8)

For the bread:
1 small loaf rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the bread in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay it out on a sheet pan and toast for 4-7 minutes or until golden on the outside and still soft inside. Transfer to a salad bowl. (You may alternatively fry the seasoned bread cubes in the olive oil.)

For the salad:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup chopped english cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
20 or so basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Combine the garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers with the vinegar and olive oil. Let marinate for 10-15 minutes. Toss in the capers, olives and basil. Season with the salt and pepper.

Toss the vegetables lightly with the bread cubes. Let rest for 20 minutes to meld the flavors.