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What’s Cooking with Julie: Panzanella, Tuscan Bread Salad

By Julie White | What’s Cooking with Julie

This recipe was inspired by my friend Karen, an amazing Italian girl who talked of her mother making this recipe. It was originally used as a way of using stale bread.

Using the best tomatoes you can find, such as heirloom, makes this a delicious salad. You may add cut-up romaine lettuce or arugula for a bit of crunch to your finished salad; add any ingredients you like; or keep it classic — you can’t go wrong.

(Courtesy of Julie White)

Ingredients:
2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, cherry or large tomatoes that are ripe and juicy, cut into bite-sized pieces. Using red and yellow tomatoes makes the salad extra pretty
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of black pepper
Loaf of crusty or day-old bread, such as sourdough, ciabatta or French, cut up into ½-inch squares
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, divided. (Use part for the bread and the other half for the dressing.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

You can also add cubes of mozzarella, pepperoni, cut up cucumbers, olives or fresh basil leaves — whatever you like.

Directions:
Add salt and pepper to the cut-up tomatoes and put aside.

Heat oven to 350.

Toss the bread cubes with half of the oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss with the tomatoes. If the tomatoes are juicy, that’s a good thing, it will add flavor.

Toss in the toasted bread and allow to sit for 15–20 minutes.

Toss well and enjoy!

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