La Panzanella

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This famous Tuscan salad has a substantial bread base with the addition of juicy ripe tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and basil to give it flavour and freshness. Served elegantly, in a pretty bowl or on a flat platter, this makes a wonderful appetizer and can be enlarged with the addition of flaked canned tuna in olive oil or cooked fish fillets to make a more filling meal. It is a rustic dish, perfect for hot summer days, and is a useful way of using up precious leftover bread, which needs to be coarse and crusty for this classic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices casareccio-type bread or ciabatta, stale
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • red wine vinegar, to taste
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Soak the bread in cold water for about 15 minutes, then squeeze the bread dry in a clean dish towel.
  2. Mix the damp bread with the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and basil.
  3. Dress the salad with with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the salad ingredients together thoroughly and leave it to stand for about 30 minutes before serving.