This Tuscan tomato bread salad is a vegetarian’s dream. Charred bruschetta rubbed with garlic and tossed with juicy tomatoes and wild mushroom cooked in white wine.
This Tomato Bread Salad is what it’s all about ! Remember how I was bragging about being the queen of all things bruschetta, crostini and panini yesterday? Well that’s because practice makes perfect indeed. I rubbed so many pieces of charred bread in my existence it is unbelievable, and probably illegal ( since I started as a small child and all) teeheehee!
Clearly I could not help myself for one freaking day, so here we are again today, rubbing grilled bread with garlic you guys! Because I can not stand the thought of seeing a perfectly stale piece of bread go to waste, much less a perfectly ripe tomato. That would just be blasphemy I tell you! This is exactly the reason why the tomato bread salad was invented in the first place. No food left behind!
So how about this panzanella, the ultimate Italian tomato bread salad for dinner ?
It’s so freaking good and garlicky, vampires won’t even want to know your name. And you know what’s crazy ? This can actually be a healthy salad, believe it or not. You can really use some organic whole wheat bread here, any dense heavy bread would work miracles. Whole wheat olive bread comes to mind, that would be insane, note to self! I see a Puttanesca Panzanella salad in our future.
The classic way to make a rustic tomato bread salad or panzanella salad is simple:
- soak some stale bread in water.
- then you squeeze it well before tossing it with extra ripe tomatoes.
- then you dress it nicely with some good olive oil and vinegar.
But hey, I’ve got to grill that bread so I can rub the heck out of it with garlic. Just like I did with the shrimp bruschetta the other day. Then I tear it up into chunks, and toss it well with extra ripe heirloom tomatoes, my best extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar.
Then I sprinkle in the fresh basil and thyme and let it sit. Yes, for 15 minutes I walk away from the entire bowl, I don’t even look in that direction. This is important, so that those tomatoes will release their juices and the grilled or stale bread soaks them all up. Now it’s legit!
But if you want to impress your Italian mother in law with your tomato bread salad, then I have an idea for you!
While your salad is sitting on the counter, basically dressing itself up, you are gonna sauté some of these wild mushrooms in white wine to sprinkle over the top. You know the ones I used to make with my grandpa a lot, the really really awesome kind.
And now we are finally ready to give it a final toss and dig in.
We fight over this Italian panzanella like two bosses. If that makes any sense to you…, I hope it does. If not, then you need to press the pause button on your wonderful life, and catch yourself up on the Godfather: 1, 2, and 3 in one night ! And you better do it Pronto, with a big bowl of this tomato bread salad panzanella for the Bosses on your lap! Andiamo !
P.S. I know the recipe says it serves 4, but if you really love a good tomato bread salad (like yours truly ), and make a meal out of it alone (like yours truly), while catching up on the Godfather, then it’s really only gonna feed 2 of you. Just being honest here, so plan accordingly kids!
- 6 slices ciabatta bread 1 inch thick
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes
- 1/2 c mixed cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cloves large garlic
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- 4 leaves basil sprigs & blossoms
- 8 leaves thyme sprigs & blossoms
- in Sautéed Wild mushrooms white wine
Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium hight heat. Grill the ciabatta bread on both sides until nice grill marks form.
remove the garlic out of its paper and rub the grille bread on both sides. Using a seated bread knife, but it into 1 inch cubes. Or you could use your hand stop just tear it. Transfer it to large bowl.
Cut the tomatoes into small wedges or chunks and add them to the bowl with the grilled bread.
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and sea salt. Adjust seasonings to your taste and pour over the tomatoes and bread. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and give everything a good toss to coat all over.
Allow the panzanella salad to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving sprinkled with the fresh basil over the top.
If adding sautéed wild mushrooms, this is the time to start working on them, while the panzanella is resting. Spoon them over the top just before serving.
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