Simply delicious, one of our favorite ways to make the best of leftover bread!
There are many ways to make a scrumptious bread salad or ‘panzanella’ as the Italians call it. Very often the stale bread is soaked in the juices of ripe tomatoes. Because we are both fond of different textures in our food we usually make our bread salad with crunchy bread croutons. For the rest we keep it simple and try to use the freshest and tastiest salad leaves and good quality balsamic vinegar. We often slow roast the tomatoes too, to make them taste more intense. But the fun of these kinds of recipes is in making your own version with your choice of best loved ingredients. You can add capers or different herbs or onions or artichoke for instance, and use different types of oil and vinegar. Our experience is this salad is devoured as soon as it hits the table.
Also check out our other ‘stale bread do not throw it away’ tips…
Ingredients for the Bread Salad
for up to 4 people
350 g drained or slow roasted cherry / date tomatoes
Olive oil to coat the dish
250 g sourdough bread croutons cut in large cubes
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil to sprinkle on top of the bread
200 g fresh salad leaves of choice
Fresh basil leaves to taste, shredded (optional)
250 g mozzarella di buffola
3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp good quality virgin olive oil
Few pinches of flaky sea salt and some turns of freshly ground pepper
The tomato juice or tomato-olive oil collected from the roasted tomato dish
A few fresh basil leaves for decoration
Fresh Parmesan cheese shavings on top (optional)
After tossing the salad it is not so ‘picture perfect’ anymore, but because the intense balsamic dressing coats all the ingredients, it is all the more delicious!
Preparing the tomatoes
Slice the tomatoes, sprinkle them with some salt and leave them for half an hour in a colander so the tomato juices can ooze out. You can use the collected juice in your dressing.
Alternatively preheat your oven at 140ºC / 285ºF. Coat an oven dish with some olive oil. Slice the cherry tomatoes in halve and put them in the dish. Put them in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until nice and soft. Very nice too, especially if your tomatoes are not the tastiest this is a good way of intensifying the flavor.
Preparing the Sourdough Bread Croutons
Preheat the ‘grill’ setting of your oven. Cut 250 g of leftover sourdough bread (stale is good in this case!) in large cubes. Cut the garlic cloves lengthwise and rub an ovenproof dish with them. Put the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle with some olive oil for an even coating of oil, you can leave the garlic cloves in too. You can also add some herbs if you want to, but watch out because simpleness is key with this salad and we do not want to confuse it! Put the dish under the grill and bake the bread cubes golden brown, keeping a close eye on them and turning them as necessary a few times.
Assembling the Sourdough Bread Salad
Combine the balsamic vinegar with the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Also add the collected tomato juice to the dressing. Alternatively, if you opted for the slow roasted tomato method, you can now add the tomato olive oil from the dish to the dressing.
In a big bowl combine all the other ingredients and pour over the prepared dressing. Garnish with the fresh Parmesan shavings and a few basil leaves.
Serve with a light rosé wine. Also great to serve at a BBQ of course.