Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Bread Salad (Panzanella) with Wild Arugula

Heirloom Tomato Bread Salad

According to my calendar, it's September, but you wouldn't know it from the triple digit temperatures in Los Angeles.

The Adorable Monster and I are huddling up by the air conditioner, avoiding the dog park (much to his chagrin), and doing out best to stay cool. Ironically, our Labor Day weekend was filled with work! I finished polishing my manuscript and sent it off to my agent this morning (Yay! Can't wait to see how it all unfolds!).

So hold a positive vision for the novel finding the right publisher...

When it gets hot like this, I always gravitate toward making cool dishes, like today's recipe for Heirloom Tomato Bread Salad. Also known as Panznella, this recipe is based on the Florentine dish that combines tomatoes with stale bread, olive oil, and vinegar. Basil and onions often accompany it, too.

Fortunately, heirloom tomatoes are still going strong at my local markets, and I'm always looking for any way to use them. Another thing that I love about this recipe is that it makes use of stale bread (waste not, want not!).

In addition to the bread and tomatoes, I added some lovely purple basil and wild arugula, but feel free to make it without those flourishes. It's great either way! Also, if I'm feeling extra fancy, I sometimes saute the bread cubes with a little olive oil to crisp them up slightly, but this step isn't required.

Heirloom Tomato Bread Salad (Panzanella) with Wild Arugula
Prep time: about 10 minutes
Serves 4 people
Print Recipe

  • 4 medium heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup stale bread, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup wild arugula (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Place the bread in the bottom of a bowl. 
  2. Top with the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. 
  3. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes, until the bread soaks up the liquids from the tomatoes and softens. 
  4. Add the basil and arugula (optional) and toss to combine. Serve right away at room temperature. Enjoy!
Source for Ingredients
  • heirloom tomatoes, purple basil, and wild arugula from the West Hollywood Farmers Market
  • sourdough baguette from La Brea Bakery 

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