Tuscans hate to waste a scrap of bread. Panzanella, a bread salad that combines vine-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and basil with olive oil and vinegar, is one solution for transforming day-old bread into a delicious meal. For best results, use chewy, coarse-textured bread.
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 to 8 thick slices country-style white bread, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil and the 3 tablespoons vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
- 2 Place half of the bread in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the bread. Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 3 Just before serving, toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. If the bread seems dry, add a little oil or vinegar. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.