Panzanella! Or, in other words, “bread salad.”
Normally when I think of salad I get really, really bored. Lettuce. Blah. Tomatoes. Blah. Diet. Blah. (Oh, except for this awesome Vietnamese Steak Salad !)
This salad is different. I’m pretty sure that the butter+bread+delicious dressing in this dish effectively take away the “healthy” status of its salad classification. So maybe think of it more as a delicious side dish than a boring salad.
Fun Fact: This “salad” originated in Italy as a way to use up day-old stale bread.
Essentially, you just cut up some old bread, saute it in butter, then toast it in the oven until it is golden brown and crunchy and delicious and looks like this:
While the bread is toasting, just chop up your choice of vegetables and place it in a large bowl. I went with a Greek theme for this recipe, so I used tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, and some olives.
Then just toss the vegetables in an easy vinaigrette, add the bread, and fold in some feta cheese.
This is such a great side dish to bring to a party, and you can prepare it ahead of time by just keeping the bread separate from the rest of the ingredients until you are ready to serve.
Two of our lovely friends just had their first baby, so I brought some of this over when I came to visit so they could have some quick go-to food that just required tossing it together in a bowl and digging in.
You could make a winter version with Brussels sprouts and squash, or use whatever’s fresh at the supermarket to make it your own.
Live a little!
Here’s Your Recipe!
- ¼ c. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 small loaf crusty bread, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ c. red wine vinegar
- ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 English cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ red onion, sliced
- ½ c. kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- ½ lb. feta cheese, cut into bite sized pieces
- Kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat a large saute pan over moderate heat. Add ⅛ c. of the butter and cook until it foams and then turns clear and brown in color. Add half of the bread pieces and toss with the browned butter. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining butter and bread pieces.
- Arrange the bread on the baking sheet in a single layer, then bake 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden and crispy on the outside but still soft in the center. Let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, pepper, garlic, and dried oregano.
- Combine the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, onion, and olives in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss to coat. Once the bread has cooled, fold the croutons along with the feta cheese into the salad mixture. Let sit 15 minutes so the croutons can absorb some of the dressing. Enjoy!