Summer is officially over according to the calendar, yet it is still over 90 degrees here in the very hot and very humid south. Our tomato plants are still flourishing and our basil is looking better than ever. I thought it would be fun to celebrate the official end of summer with this super simple panzanella salad with all our goods from the garden!
I used a loaf of La Brea Bakery’s sundried tomato and herb bread, but anything with a little crunch will do. The bread is toasted and then soaks in a little olive oil and red wine vinegar before adding it to the salad to give it the perfect crunchy and flavorful bite! We used a pesto vinaigrette here, but any vinaigrette will do. I think balsamic would be great or even a light red wine would work!
End of Summer Panzanella Salad
- 4 to 5 cups cubed (or roughly pulled apart) bread (1-inch cubes from 1 large loaf)
- 1/3 cup fruity (or regular) extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon more for toasting bread
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 cups diced ripe tomatoes, cup 1/2-inch thick (or in halves for cherries and romas)
- 2 cups diced cucumber, peeled and seeded, cup 1/2-inch thick (approximately 1 English or 2 regular cucumbers)
- 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
- 1-2 cups chopped lettuce
- About 1 cup pesto vinaigrette (recipe below)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Slivered fresh basil for garnish
- Toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toast in a 400-degree F oven for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned.
- Toss the bread cubes in a salad bowl with the 1/3 cup olive oil and vinegar and let them absorb this preliminary dressing for about 30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, including the salt and pepper to taste, and quickly toss together. Garnish with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons mild wine vinegar (not too much or else it will be too tart)
- Mix ingredients together with a whisk.
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh