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Rustic bread and cheese salad recipe

Rustic bread and cheese salad recipe

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  • Salad

Inspired by the Italian salad called panzanella, this combines crisp, garlic-flavoured bread cubes with sweet, juicy tomatoes and crunchy salad vegetables. Try it for lunch or supper, with more bread to boost the starchy carbohydrate.

Be the first to make this!

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 ciabatta rolls or 1 small baguette
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 150 g (5½ oz) plain low-fat yogurt
  • 75 g (2½ oz) Gruyère cheese
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cos lettuce or 2 romaine lettuce hearts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes, skinned (optional) and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

MethodPrep:20min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Preheat the grill. Slice the rolls or bread horizontally in half and toast both sides lightly under the grill. Rub the cut sides of the garlic over the toasted sides of the bread. Reserve the garlic cloves. Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
  2. Separate the yolk and white of the hard-boiled egg. Roughly chop the white and set it aside. Mash the yolk with the mustard in a small bowl, then gradually stir in the lemon juice and yogurt, with seasoning to taste, to form a smooth dressing.
  3. Using a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, cut fine shavings or very thin slices from the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses. Alternatively, coarsely grate the cheese.
  4. Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the reserved garlic cloves, then discard the garlic. Place the lettuce in the bowl and add the tomatoes, spring onions and fennel.
  5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss lightly. Scatter over the egg white, bread cubes and cheese. Mix gently and serve at once, before the bread begins to soften.

Some more ideas

Use 1 head of Chinese leaves, about 400–450 g (14–16 oz), and 200 g (7 oz) iceberg lettuce instead of cos or romaine lettuce. Shred and mix the Chinese leaves and iceberg. * Try 170 g (6 oz) feta cheese, crumbled, instead of Gruyèe and Parmesan and add a few black olives, stoned and chopped. Omit the dressing and instead serve lemon wedges and black pepper to sprinkle over the salad. * Grilled haloumi cheese is excellent with a salad such as this. Cut the cheese into fairly thick slices and place them on a flameproof dish. Cook under a hot grill until golden on both sides, turning once. Lay the cheese on individual portions of the prepared salad (made without Gruyèe and Parmesan) and serve straightaway.

Plus points

The traditional combination of cheese and tomato offers a delicious source of protein, vitamins and minerals. * In addition to calcium, Gruyère cheese is a good source of zinc, a mineral essential for the process of wound healing. * Fennel is thought to aid digestion and relieve wind. It also provides phytoestrogen and it is a good source of potassium.

Each serving provides

C, calcium * A, B12, E, folate, niacin * B1, B2, B6, copper, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc

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Rustic bread and cheese salad recipe - Recipes

That sure does look good! I could see eating leftovers for breakfast! :)

Wow this salad looks great! I've never tried panzanella. guess it's time to. :)

Wow! Such a beautiful dish! Can't wait to try it. Thanks!

I had never made panzanella, either, mostly because no one else in my house eats bread. So when I offered to bring something to a party and realized I had not enough tomatoes to make a straight tomato salad, but DID have some slightly stale bread that could stretch the tomatoes, I made panzanella (a similar recipe to yours, except a very Italian one, not Greek). I was so excited to try it, and then the food didn't end up being put out until seven that night, which is when I had to leave to put my little dictator to bed. By the time I returned to the party, the panzanella was all gone. Everyone told me how good it was, but I'll never know. Very, very sad.

Wow! I just happened to be scanning my Google Reader and found your recipe last night. Turns out I had all the ingredients at hand to make this amazing dish, including fresh produce from the garden: onions, garlic, oregano, cucumber and 5 different varieties of heirloom cherry tomatoes! I also had a bunch of fresh cinnamon basil growing out back that made a nice addition. Nothing compares to a home grown meal. This was one of the most delicious meals I've had in a very long time!! And my housemates raved about it, too :)

Yummm. I love panzanella. Happy to see we have another convert!

so glad to find this recipe. second planting of summer tomatoes will be ready in a few weeks. :)

I made this a couple of nights ago. It was absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much! This will definitely make it into my recipe box!

So, I finally got around to making this dish and it was tasty, but the red wine vinegar I used was NOT very good. Is there a particular brand you suggest? It makes a huge difference!

Hi Elaina,
I just got into red wine vinegar recently (I've been a dedicated balsamic vinegar lover for ages) so I haven't tried too many brands. I do like Trader Joe's red wine vinegar, which is inexpensive. The nice thing about vinegar is that a bottle usually lasts quite a while, so spending a few dollars more for some really nice stuff is a tasty, but not a huge, investment. :)

December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Ingredients US Metric

  • 2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch (25-mm) chunks (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 or more basil leaves, cut into thin strips (or chiffonade if you want to sound fancy)
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces crusty, rustic-style bread, cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
  • 4 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks
  • Red wine vinegar (optional)


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, and salt, and season with a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Let sit at room temperature until the juices from the tomatoes release and create a kind of dressing, about 30 minutes. (We know. You’re in a rush. But trust us when we tell you waiting a half hour makes quite a difference in terms of allowing the flavors to meld.)

Lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Grill the bread, turning once, until slightly toasted and golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the bread from the heat and rub the toasted bread all over with the cut side of the garlic.

Cut the grilled bread into 1/2-inch chunks. You can set the grilled bread aside at room temperature for a while if you’re not eating right away.

When ready to serve, toss the tomato mixture with the mozzarella and grilled bread and divide the panzanella among 4 plates. Taste and adjust the amounts of oil, salt, or pepper accordingly and, if desired, dribble with vinegar and toss again. Serve at once so the bread doesn’t turn soggy. Originally published August 3, 2015.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This panzanella recipe was one of the most flavorful and fragrant summer recipes I've ever made. The method was so easy and the ingredients easy to come by and cheap, yet this recipe was absolutely fantastic and so much more than the sum of its parts.

I combined the tomato, onion, basil, oil, and salt, added black pepper that I crushed in a mortar and pestle, and let everything sit for 25 minutes at room temperature. It's very fragrant both at this stage and when storing, so any tomato-haters in the vicinity, be warned. Meanwhile, I preheated the grill to medium and brushed each slice of bread with olive oil. I discarded the heels of the bread and used only slices from the middle portions of the loaf. I grilled the bread for about 4 minutes on each side, but the last few pieces took only about 3 minutes. I rubbed the bread on each side with the garlic—this was easiest on the pieces of bread that got a little more charred towards the end of the grilling. I cut the bread into about 1/2-inch chunks and tossed it with the tomato mixture.

At first I was worried about the bread cubes being too large, but after they sat with the tomatoes and soaked up some of the juices, the larger chunks were actually better because they soaked up a lot of juice yet managed to stay crisp. The garlic bread cubes were the real highlight—so tasty and flavorful but not overpowering.

This panzanella recipe was the perfect way to celebrate the first day of summer. Even with regular grocery-store tomatoes, it was delicious, so I imagine that homegrown or heirloom tomatoes would take the dish to another level. It took about 30 minutes to pull together at a very relaxed pace—you could definitely multitask and get another element of the meal done at the same time if you're not serving this on its own. Having said that, I think this would work best on its own, as the portions were large—perhaps as an alfresco lunch?

When I make this again, I might add more basil, but my fellow tester thought it was perfectly balanced as is. My only word of warning is that the garlic bread is powerful— in other words, make sure everyone at the party has a serving of this.

To me, this panzanella recipe is summer perfection in a bowl. As with anything so simple, the quality of the dish is entirely dependent on the quality of your tomatoes and cheese. There were no heirloom tomatoes available at my market, but there was a wonderful selection of local yellow and orange tomatoes, as well as some multicolored cocktail and cherry tomatoes. I used an assortment of these and the best-quality fresh mozzarella available. Together the tomatoes and soft cheese contrasted wonderfully with the toasted bread.

You do need to watch the bread closely on the grill—15 seconds was all the difference between toasted and burned. We ate this along with some chicken drumsticks, and as a side dish, there was way too much for 4 people. This salad would serve 4 as a main dish and serve 6 as a side. I let the tomatoes sit for 20 minutes, which seemed adequate. I cut the bread into 1/2-inch pieces as indicated in the recipe, but next time, I think I'll just tear it into bigger chunks, maybe 1-inch pieces. I think the bread would stand up a little longer to all the juices that way.

This recipe makes a huge and refreshing panzanella salad. I think with a little tweaking, it will be in heavy rotation during the lazy hot days of summer.

We did run into a couple minor setbacks. 8 cups tomatoes is A LOT of tomatoes. And the only fresh mozzarella I could find on the day I went shopping was pre-sliced. As someone in my house is sensitive to wheat, I made the base salad and grilled 2 types of bread: gluten-free and ciabatta. Both types of bread worked well on the grill.

This is a salad that you should toss at the table, as the bread becomes soggy quite quickly, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think leftovers would be any good. We also felt the salad could use more onion, pepper, basil, and salt. The mozzarella didn't stand up well to the tossing, but that was because of the kind of cheese I got. Next time, I’ll go with bocconcini, as we love it in salads, and it's a cheese that's readily available here. (You also wouldn't have to cut the cheese, which is a bonus.) Making this gluten-free wasn’t difficult, as all I had to do was use a gluten-free bread and toss it separately with the salad. Once the aforementioned tweaks are incorporated, I think this recipe will be spectacular.

The salad took about 15 minutes hands-on time and 20 minutes waiting time. This recipe made 6 rather generous dinner-size portions.

This was a nice take on panzanella. I make panzanella quite a lot in the summertime when tomatoes are at their peak. As good as this was, I'm sure that it would've been even better if heirlooms were in season right now. Be that as it may, this was actually a good use for tomatoes that weren't quite there yet.

My tomato mixture sat in the bowl for about 30 minutes before I got to grilling the bread. The flavors melded quite well. I had been concerned that the onion would overpower the tomatoes, but that was not the case. The garlic bread was very tasty indeed. I did make more than the recipe called for, because how can one not make extra garlic bread? I cut some of it into cubes as called for in the recipe. Those I added to the salad along with the mozzarella. The rest of the bread I cut into long pieces for garlic "breadsticks,” which I arranged around the outside of the bowl. It made a very pretty presentation, and the breadsticks were fun to stick into the salad and then bite into. I look forward to being able to make this again when a wide range of heirlooms are available. This salad will be striking with all the colors of the heirloom rainbow.

I've had some excellent panzanella in my day. There's actually a panzanella I had in Boston that I consider my gold standard. Ripe tomatoes, perfectly toasted and crunchy bread, and a delicious but not overpowering dressing. I still think about that salad and smile.

I cut up a nice bunch of ripe heirloom, yellow, and cherry tomatoes. I added my best extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, and basil. After I gave the salad a toss, I let it sit for about 15 minutes. I made the mistake of using a pre-sliced loaf from the grocery store, and even though I tossed it with the tomatoes at the last minute, the bread immediately turned soggy. I'm definitely a crisp crouton lover, so I wasn't happy with the texture of the bread in this salad. But I don't think this is an issue with the recipe. If I'd been able to use thicker slices of bread and grilled them longer, I think the texture would've been a lot better.

This was the best recipe I've tested so far. Since we aren't in prime tomato season in the Northeast, I used a mixture of UglyRipe beefsteak and Campari tomatoes. This worked very well because the 2 different varieties have distinct tastes. I let the tomatoes sit with the other ingredients for 20 minutes. The tomatoes released a lot of liquid, but that wasn't a problem.

I used an 11-ounce ciabatta bread. (I weighed out 6 ounces on my kitchen scale.) The whole recipe came together in 35 minutes, including marinating the tomatoes. I will definitely make this again!

Mix the first 6 ingredients and let the flavors marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad. The result is a bread salad worth savoring. The grilled garlic bread takes this wonderful panzanella recipe to a new level. If you want leftovers, save some of the bread before you toss the salad and store it separately.

This was an easy panzanella recipe that was also incredibly flavorful. While this was like a Caprese salad, having the ingredients cut into smaller pieces made it a little different.

My tasters liked the addition of the chopped red onion as opposed to large pieces of onion. I let the tomato mixture sit for 20 minutes, and the 1/2-inch pieces of bread were big enough to not get overwhelmed by the dressing. My only concern was that this was supposed to make 4 servings. It would definitely serve 4 as a main dish for lunch, but there wasn't enough protein to make it a meal for me. As a side salad, it would serve 8.

While this panzanella recipe defeats the purpose of making use of stale bread, grilling the bread really does create a superior taste. It was sort of a combination of how I learned to make bruschetta and panzanella while living in Italy. While I found the proportions to be a little off, you can successfully mix and match quantities as well as easily add ingredients (olives, peppers, maybe some vinegar).

But make sure everything you're using is high quality. I’d recommend dumping out some of the juice released by the tomatoes if there's a lot to avoid a soggy salad. I'd also suggest searing that bread with abandon. I used 2 pounds or about 5 cups uncut Campari tomatoes (no heirlooms available), which was plenty. I used a bit more than 1 tablespoon oil.

The grilled garlic bread adds nice texture and flavor to the salad. The recipe takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time plus about 20 minutes for the flavors to marinate at room temperature. I think this recipe has some flexibility in terms of adjusting the ratio of ingredients based on personal preference, i.e. I would've liked a little less bread and a bit more tomatoes and basil. And if the salad appears dry after all of the ingredients are combined, feel free to add a little extra olive oil. I also would've preferred to salt the tomatoes rather than the bread. Salt really brings out the flavor of tomatoes. The bread already has salt, so it's not really necessary. Salting both might make the dish too salty, but the tomatoes seemed a little bland without being salted.


#LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


August in Chicago, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a roasted-garlic-studded sourdough from the farmers market, and here is this perfect lunchtime main or dinnertime side. I must have been feeling big today and I took some indulgent liberties – my version was filled with larger, more, and heavier! My chunks of everything – tomato, mozzarella, and bread were larger. I definitely took the, “or more,” to heart with the basil, and I just might have gone a wee bit heavier on the cheese! Red wine vinegar was offered as an option I passed initially, and then drizzled it on about halfway through. (I’ll also admit to – and highly recommend — indulging in another generous 1/2” slice of bread and using it to mop up any and all leftover juices on the plate.)

I like the way you’re thinking, Elsa! When it comes to this combination of ingredients, more is definitely better! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Panzanella is one of the joys of summer. And yours is so attractive. I agree that mozzarella is an excellent addition.

I put in thinly sliced fennel and pieces of colorful bell peppers as well. Seeded cucumber if I’m in the mood for it too. Other times it’s Niçoise olives.

But I must say that, as pretty as yours is, I let mine soak up all the tomato juices over the course of a few hours before serving it. I know I give up something in the way of appearance and texture but I’ll trade that for the flavor of fresh summer tomatoes in every bite.

Thanks, rainey. And I agree, sometimes having a wetter panzanella, with all the juices absorbed by the bread, is pretty much the definition of fresh summer!

I had never heard of panzanella before, but I love each and every one of the ingredients in this recipe so trying it was a no-brainer. I adored it, as did my partner! Can’t wait to try it again in the summer, when the tomatoes will be even more delicious.

I can’t wait for those summer tomatoes, Vera!

This is a very tasty version of a salad that is summer staple for me. I have some olive oil that I have infused with garlic which I used to make the toast. I do like to salt the tomato mixture and sometimes add a little red wine or balsamic vinegar. I have only recently found this site and I do love it. Tonight’s dinner with friends includes the panzanella and peach cobbler recipes found here. Hard for me to actually cook a summer peach (sort of like gilding the lily) but am looking forward to serving this to my friends. Thanks again!

Debbie, you’re very welcome. We’re glad that you found us! And many, many thanks for your kind words. Your take on panzanella sounds lovely, and yes, the peach cobbler definitely gilds the lily with gobs of sugar. Like you, I prefer food in its natural state as opposed to all dolled up, although this recipe is something I consider an occasional and worthwhile splurge. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it and learning which recipes you try in the future.

Reading the comments about this salad makes me smile. People! This is a toss together salad of left over bread which originated in Tuscany. Their bread is not salted so you salt the tomatoes and the salad. If you make it with garlic toast or salted bread or any dry bread it doesn’t matter. It also does not matter if you vary the quantity of the ingredients. Just channel an Italian cook putting together a salad with fresh garden tomatoes, basil, some onion, garlic, good olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a splash of balsamic wouldn’t hurt. Let it sit a while and you end up with a salad worthy of the finest truely authentic Italian restaurant. I just made some with yellow cherry tomatoes, sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, garden grown basil and garlic and chives. The bread was challah, sliced, buttered, toasted and rubbed with fresh garlic then diced, What could be simpler. What could be better?

Bavarian Wurst Salad with Cheese

OK, you’re soon enough going to accuse me of cheating. Seeing what passes for a salad in this country makes me hopeful for the future. This has all the nutrients you’re going to need to climb the next mountain top!

Here’s our secret family recipe for wurst salad. It’a recipe from my aunt who has a restaurant in the Alps which you can only reach by boat. The restaurant has been in the family for 4 generations. It was a wedding present from prince regent Luitpold of Bavaria in 1912 and started with a little shop which grew into a restaurant loved by all the tourists which visit the Koenigssee.

One of their specialties is this Bavarian Sausage Salad with Cheese. It’s actually called Swiss Sausage Salad because of the Cheese but we used Bavarian Cheese so I think it’s fair to call it Bavarian. You can cut the cheese and the ring bologna as thin as you like!

This Wurst salad recipe is great to make in advance. And if you don’t like cheese you can leave it out then it’s a real Bavarian sausage salad. It tastes great either way!

We like to eat it with bread as a light dinner or lunch. A rustic bread is perfect! Make this Wurst salad, my Bavarian Potato Salad, my Bavarian Beer Cheese Spread (Obatzda) and serve is with some pretzel bread or a rustic sourdough loaf for the ultimate Bavarian summer feast.

And for dessert, I recommend my German Apple Streusel Sheet Cake! A delicious moist apple cake made with apple chunks and apple sauce. It’s topped with a delicious streusel topping. And don’t worry it’s really easy to make!

Crostini and bruschetta are two appetizers that are guaranteed to please time and time again. The bread&mdashtypically smaller slices of baguette or loaf bread for crostini and larger slices of rustic bread for bruschetta&mdashacts as a built-in plate, making them the perfect finger food. They're easy to prepare and provide a base for all kinds of seasonal vegetables, fruit jam, smoked fish, briny condiments, and lots and lots of cheese. These quick and easy appetizer recipes make elevating a meal&mdasheven on weeknights&mdasha breeze.

All crostini and bruschetta recipes start with good bread. Slices of baguette, pumpernickel, or a rustic country bread are drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven or grilled until they're golden brown on the outside but still soft on the inside. From here, some are smeared with cheese&mdashcreamy ricotta, tangy, crumbly goat cheese, or even shreds of Manchego, Parmesan, or sharp cheddar. Add vegetables, whether grilled slices or thin shavings of raw produce, or fruit (figs are fantastic!). Then sprinkle with fresh herbs for color and fragrant flavor and dig in.

During summer, there's nothing like tomato-topped bruschetta. We have recipes that call for both raw tomatoes, where the color and flavor of heirloom varieties shine, as well as grilled tomatoes, which bring a smoky, charred flavor. Pair with garlic and basil, of course, for a quintessential Italian recipe. To ensure that the bread doesn&rsquot get soggy from the juicy tomatoes, toast the bread for a few extra minutes so that it's extra-crispy, a hallmark of bruschetta.

When the cooler months come around, top crostini or bruschetta with seasonal fruit like kumquats or persimmons or a warm caramelized onion jam. Play around with flavors and textures with these fun and simple recipes.

How to Make Olive Bread

Here are all the steps to make this easy, homemade olive bread recipe.

Combine the first six ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a spatula to roughly combine the ingredients. Let rest for 15 minutes to activate the yeast.

Attach the dough hook and knead on medium for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in a bit more flour as needed if the dough won’t release from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the kneaded dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 60 minutes in a warm place.

After the first rise, you can see a larger dough ball below.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your hands to shape it into a loaf. This can be a round loaf as shown here or a more oblong loaf as shown in the photo at the top of this post.

Allow to rise for another 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place a second baking sheet on the bottom rack. Dust the loaf with flour.

Use a serrated knife to make three shallow cuts across the top.
Place the baking sheet containing the dough on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Toss a half cup of water onto the hot baking sheet on the bottom rack and close the door.

Bake for 30 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

See, this is an easy olive bread recipe!

Look at that delicious texture!This kalamata bread is great to dip into olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Yummy! You can also enjoy this olive bread loaf with butter or cream cheese.

More ideas with Bob’s Red Mill products:

Pin this recipe and share with your friends!

I’d love for you to keep in touch! You can enter your email address below to get new recipes sent to you. Join me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Italian Panzanella Salad Recipe

Italian Panzanella Salad is a classic family favorite when vine-ripened tomatoes are over flowing in garden. It is definitely one of those recipes that you will crave and look forward to each year! This is a salad that is really best with fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. The flavor is not as good with hot house tomatoes. So I will not even make it if tomatoes are not in season. The cubes of rustic bread, usually day-old bread, soak up the delicious balsamic vinegar dressing.

  • 4 cups (1 to 3 day-old bread) Italian-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 anchovy fillets, diced**
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, extra-virgin
  • 1/3 cup aged Balsamic Vinegar or red wine vinegar***
  • 2 cups fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into large bite-size pieces****
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red bell peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives or Nicoise olives, pitted
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano), freshly grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to middle of your oven.

Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer dry in oven approximately 10 minutes remove from oven and set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Gently toss prepared tomatoes and teaspoon salt in large bowl. Transfer to colander that is set over bowl set aside to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Reserve the drained tomato juice in case you decide you need it in the salad dressing or for another recipe.

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the capers, garlic and anchovies until you have a smooth paste. Place in a large bowl.

Whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into the anchovy paste until combined. Add some of the drained tomato juice, if desired. Add the toasted bread cubes and toss thoroughly. Add tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, red peppers, yellow peppers, olives, basil, coarse salt, and pepper. Toss the ingredients gently to coat. let marinate in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 1 hour or longer so all the flavors can mingle and the bread becomes permeated with the juices of the tomatoes. Do not refrigerate or you will destroy the texture of the tomatoes.

Before serving, toss the salad gently and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

* Use sturdy, coarse, rustic-style white bread cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. If you do not have older bread, you can use fresh crusty bread. Cut the bread into big cubes, lay the cubes out on a baking sheet, and put in a 300 degree F. oven for 5 to 10 minutes (until the outer edges have dried out a bit - not toasted, just dried). If you use fresh bread without doing this, the bread may disintegrate into mush in the salad. Do not use "stale" bread, only use older (1 to 3 day-old bread).

** Anchovy Paste may be substituted for the anchovy fillets. 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste is equal to 2 anchovy fillets. You can also adjust the amount of anchovies used according to your taste. To purchase Anchovies and Anchovy Paste, check out What's Cooking America's Kitchen Store.

*** Balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar may be combined.

Source: Italian Panzanella Salad photo by Fredrick D. Joe, Portland, Oregon Oregonian newspaper

Our Very Favorite Panzanella Salad Recipe

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Panzanella may be the best salad idea ever – and I’m pretty sure this is the perfect panzanella salad recipe. Olive-oil-toasted bread hunks, rustic chops of green and red peppers, tomatoes, and more, plus basil plucked fresh from the garden… good, good, good stuff!

I’m not Italian. So, totally, not even close. Even if one of my ancestors contributed a teensy amount of Italy to my melting-pot blood, I’m thinking it turned out to be a recessive thing.

Which is kind of a bummer, really. I’m so white bread. I don’t have the first clue how to say “mozzarella” or “biscotti” like Giada does. Eating that stuff, though, is a different story. I am pretty good at that.

Italian food. I don’t think there’s any cuisine I love more. Espresso, cheese, wine, pasta, pesto, olives, basil, tomatoes tomatoes everywhere.

And Panzanella, also known as Italian bread salad. I’m sure my version – based on the Ina Garten version and the version I personally think is the most perfect salad ever – is Americanized to the nth degree. It’s also insanely delicious.

The bread is more like big, beautiful croutons than limp mounds of soggy stuff (which, I admit, the first time I heard of bread salad, this is what I imagined). Olive-oil-toasted bread hunks along with rustic chops of green and red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, green olives, and basil plucked fresh from the garden, then tossed with a nice olive oil and balsamic dressing kissed with Dijon mustard. This stuff makes me want to write run-on sentences.

Here in Seattle, we’re finally seeing a few tomatoes ripen. Why not find a use for that half loaf of stale bread you’ve got laying around, and a couple of those amazing tomatoes? Oh, and here’s the audio file of how to pronounce “Panzanella” so you don’t have to go around saying “Panzaneeya” or “Panz… [mumble, trailing off].” Not that I ever did such a thing.

If you try this recipe, please leave a rating! And, if you find it share-worthy – which I hope you do – please share. Tag #kitchentreaty on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, and don’t forget to check out my other recipes!

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Rustic bread and cheese salad recipe - Recipes

Potato Salad - it's a classic side dish for any summer gathering. Creamy, cold, bursting with flavors that are sure to please everyone. This recipe doesn't use mustard, which is a great option to have for those who prefer not to have mustard. It's even easier and faster to make with a pressure cooker! You use less water, don't need to peel your potatoes, and cook the eggs and the potatoes at the same time! If you don't have a pressure cooker, I've included a stove top version, below.

Red skinned potatoes are a great choice to use with a potato salad, as their skins are smooth, thin and basically unnoticeable texture-wise. So, save yourself the time and extra step of peeling potatoes! Another great thing about using Red potatoes is that they hold their shape well, don't turn to mush when properly cooked, and absorb flavors well.

Want to use a different type of potato? Waxy potatoes are better than starchy.
Red, New, Fingerling potatoes are the most common waxy potatoes, having thin skins and keep their shape due to their high moisture content in the salad without turning mushy.

White, Yukon Golds are in-between waxy and starchy. They will work well, as long as they are not overcooked.

Stay away from thick skinned potatoes, like Russets, which fall apart. These are better for making perfect, fluffy baked potatoes or creamy mashed potatoes.

Here is some great information of 13 different types of potatoes, and how to use them, from the Huffington Post.

One of the keys of pressure cooking veggies is to keep your cuts/size as uniform as possible.

In this case, we want 1/2" cut potatoes. This way, you won't have over or under/cooked potatoes.

First, slice your clean, scrubbed potatoes in 1/2" slices. Turn the slices cut side down and make a horizontal cut through the middle of the potato. Then make cuts every 1/2" across the potato.

This large RSVP strainer basket is perfect for holding 3 pounds of 1/2" cut potatoes and 4 xlarge eggs. You will need to bend the handles up with locking pliers, or break them off to fit into the pressure cooker, but It is such a time saver to be able to cook your eggs and potatoes at the same time!

Put the 1 cup of water into your pressure cooker, set the strainer filled with cut potatoes, eggs on top, and lock the lid. Close the pressure valve and cook on HIGH for 4 minutes.

While your potatoes/eggs are cooking, you can dice your onion and celery.

When the cook time ends, open the pressure valve to quickly release any pressure.

Using tongs, remove the hot eggs and place into an ice water bath. This stops the cooking and prevents the dreaded green/gray ring.

Pour the hot potatoes into a large bowl. I am using my EuroCuisine Yogurt strainer bowl, as it holds just the right amount and has a fitted lid.

One trick my mom taught me was to sprinkle vinegar over my warm potatoes, which soaks into the potatoes and gives it a great tang. I am using apple cider vinegar for this recipe. If you are using Miracle Whip, you can omit using vinegar, as it is already included.

Mix your mayo, sour cream (or homemade yogurt!) and 2 Tablespoons of milk. The milk helps keep the mayo mixture creamy. Fold into your warm potatoes.

I'm really enjoying this ready made bacon that I found at Sam's Club. It is found on the shelf and it's a another great time saver. It's currently in my fridge, but I plan to portion it and freeze, which should keep well for 3-6 months. You can find the Costco brand here on Amazon.

Fold in your bacon crumbles, onion, celery and finely shredded cheddar cheese. Almost sounds like a baked potato, right? Hey, you can use finely chopped green onion instead of a yellow or white onion.

I couldn't find a large bowl, but my EuroCusine yogurt strainer bowl and lid are perfect! It's nice to find another purpose for this fantastic yogurt strainer.

It looks really creamy right now, but the potatoes will soak up all the great flavors. If your potato salad looks a little dry, you can add some more mayo/milk. Salt and pepper to taste.

Peel your eggs. This is my favorite way to quickly chop hard cooked eggs. Use an egg slicer to slice the eggs in one direction. Carefully pick up the sliced egg and rotate it 90° and slice again. Voila! Chopped eggs with no mess!

Chill overnight for best melding of flavors.

Tip: If you need your salad super duper quick, spread it out onto a cookie sheet, cover, and put into the freezer for 30 minutes. Check, give it a stir and some more time, if needed. Don't leave it in the freezer for more than an hour, so set a timer or write a large note/reminder and post it where you can see it.

Watch the video: Recipe Rustic bread and cheese salad