Last week we had some left over Italian bread in our refrigerator and the thought of just tossing the rock-solid loaf seemed too hasty to me. So of course I took on the challenge and pretty quickly decided it was going to be the featured player in some friday night panzanella. Panzanella is essentially “bread salad,” or put even more simply, salad with homemade croutons! Whats not to love? This made for the perfect light meal for two, but it also could be enough for a first course for four to six people. The dressing was delicious; A basic vinaigrette with a little kick of truffle oil, and once whirred with my trusty immersion blender, it thickened enough to nicely coat my salad.
You can use fresh bread for this, but I’d rather eat that with some cheese and jam, and leave the leftover for panzanella!
Make the Dressing
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 TBSP white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp fresh minced basil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp white truffle oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients except for oils. If using an immersion blender, drizzle in the oils and mix to emulsify. You can also use a whisk to briskly beat this dressing together. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the Croutons
- 1/2 loaf Italian bread
- 2 TBSP olive oil, plus more to drizzle
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat oil in a large skillet and add bread and salt. Toss to combine, and drizzle more olive oil if necessary to coat the bread more evenly. Cook, stirring occasionally, to lightly brown, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before adding to salad.
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh sliced basil leaves
- homemade croutons
- frisée, roughly chopped if desired
- 5-7 TBSP vinaigrette
- shaved Parmesan cheese
- a few thin slices of hot or sweet soppressata (or other cured meat of your choice!)
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle in dressing and toss to coat. Serve over frisée and top with shaved Parmesan cheese and rolled up soppressata. Enjoy!