Summer Panzanella Salad

August 4, 2019 by Nicole Collins

Why is bread so amazing?

Crusty on the outside. Fluffy on the inside. Tastes delectable with anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that you could possibly want to pair with it.

I mean, it’s really not fair. I can’t say I’ve ever met a bread that I didn’t like.

If only deliciously carby bread didn't stick to my tummy/butt like glue.

I was watching MasterChef the other day, and the mystery box challenge was a bread challenge. The contestants had a sourdough boule in front of them that they had to turn into 2 MasterChef worthy dishes.

There were a lot of different interpretations on how to make the bread star of the dish. There were a lot of soups in bread bowls. There were a lot of bread puddings. But, there were also some really interesting dishes that I'd never think to use bread in...like bread gnocchi.

Bread gnocchi. Soak that in for a sec. Bread and potatoes. I don't see how it could really get any better than that. #carbheaven

Sometimes, I like to play along with MasterChef and pretend I could ever stand a chance amongst those talented home cooks. So, when I saw this challenge, the first thing that popped into my mind was panzanella.

And what a coincidence, because guess what we're making today?

Today, we're making Summer Panzanella Salad!

Panzanella salad is a super simple, Tuscan salad made up of crusty bread, fresh tomatoes and onions, then tossed in a light dressing. I think the real mystery of panzanella salad is that you'd think the bread would get soggy being around all of those juicy ingredients. But, it doesn't! By some food magic, the juices from the salad soak into the bread just enough to soften it without it losing it's crunch.

Yum!

So, with summer produce in full abundance right now, I thought what could be better than to add some extra summery flavors to jazz up our delicious salad!

We start with the bread. We want a nice, hearty bread like an Italian or sourdough boule that can withstand the juicy flavors we're going to soak into it. The bread gets cut into bite sized cubes, drizzled with a little olive oil, then toasted in the oven for a few minutes to dry out and get nice and crisp.

While we wait for the bread to toast, we can work on the rest of our salad. Colorful baby heirloom tomatoes, sweet juicy peaches, fresh corn on the cob, and spicy red onion round out the line up of produce in our salad. I chose to roast the corn in the oven, because I just love how easy and delicious it is. But, since we're grilling our peaches to give them a little extra flavor, you could totally feel free to throw the corn on the grill too. The final touch is some chiffonade basil tossed in to add a nice pop of freshness.

After we have our produce mixed together, we toss in the bread cubes, lightly dress the whole salad with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette, give it all a generous hit of salt and pepper, and give it a good toss. But, we can't dig right in. We need to give everything at least a half hour to let the flavors combine, and then we can go to town.

The end result is everything! Sweet, acidic, crispy, crunchy...this is the perfect side dish to any summer meal. And, it's mostly made of produce, so it's basically healthy (if you ask me).

I'd call that winning!

Alright, everybody. I think we're going to keep the salad thing going this week and have a COMPLETELY different kind of salad on Thursday.

Stay tuned! And, let's eat!

Summer Panzanella Salad

Serves: 4-6 Print

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups heirloom tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 peaches, sliced

  • 2 ears corn, husks on

  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced

  • 2 tbsp basil, chiffonade

  • 4 heaping cups italian or sourdough bread boule, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Roast the corn: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place corn cobs still in their husks on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 mins. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to touch, remove the husk from the corn. Use a knife to slice the kernels from the cob. Place the corn in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

  2. Toast the bread cubes: Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add bread cubes and 2 tbsp olive oil. Toss well to coat the bread. Bake for 10-12 mins until the bread becomes toasted and crisp. Set aside.

  3. Make the Dressing: In a blender or small food processor, add all ingredients for dressing. Blend until fully combined and smooth. Set aside.

  4. Grill the peaches: Preheat grill to medium high heat. Use remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to brush both sides of the peaches with oil. Grill for about 3 mins per side until the peaches easily remove from the grill grates. Set aside.

  5. To the large mixing bowl with the corn, add tomatoes, peaches, red onion, and basil. Toss well to combine. Add the toasted bread to the bowl, and toss again. Add dressing and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well. Allow to sit about 30 mins before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

*This salad is best served fresh. Though the bread holds up better than you'd think with all of the juicy produce, it should be eaten within 4-5 hours of making it for the best results.

*It may seem like an extra step to roast the corn in the oven instead of grilling it with the peaches, but I adore roasted corn. Feel free to grill it though since the grill is already out! Just remove the cobs from the husk, rub it with some extra oil first, and give it about 10-15 mins on the grill making sure to flip the corn every 2-3 mins.

*To chiffonade basil, stack the leaves together, loosely roll them into a cigar shape, and slice into thin strips.

*I like to use a rocket blender to make dressing, because it helps speed up the emulsification process. This is the one I use.

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