An Italian Bread and Tomato Salad from Florence
Don't know what to do with all of your homegrown tomatoes? Panzanella, a delicious savory salad that hails from Florence, Italy, might just be the answer to your over-abundant supply of those tasty red ones. For a change of pace, place your bread cubes on a baking sheet, brush them lightly with garlic olive oil and toast in a preheated 350 degree F. oven until golden.
6+ Tablespoons champagne wine vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch salt
2-3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 to 6 cups day-old French or Italian bread, cubed
2-3 large vine-ripened red tomatoes, diced
1-2 stalks green onions, sliced thin
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small
2-3 Tablespoons capers, drained
Dash of Italian Seasoning
8 ounces salami, ham or some other deli meat, cubed, optional
Handful fresh basil leaves, washed well, spun dry, and coarsely chopped
1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Kalamata or black olives, sliced in half, optional
Serves 10 to 12.
Note: If your red onion is too strong for your taste, slice it in half and soak it in a medium- size bowl filled with ice cubes and water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, pat dry and proceed as your recipe's directions dictate.