Classic Panzanella Salad (Tuscan-Style Tomato-and-Bread Salad) Recipe

The Food Lab

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Classic Panzanella Salad (Tuscan-Style Tomato-and-Bread Salad) Recipe

Ripe, in-season tomatoes are the flavor powerhouse behind this bread salad. [Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]

This classic Italian bread-and-tomato salad manages to be fresh and summery, but still hearty enough to eat as a light supper or lunch.

Why It Works

  • Salting and draining the tomatoes produces tons of flavorful liquid to build up a lot of vinaigrette—essential for rehydrating the dried bread.
  • Drying fresh bread in the oven produces a better texture than using stale bread.
  • The tomato juice combines with vinegar to create a flavor-packed vinaigrette.
  • Yield:Serves 6
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.1kg) mixed tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 pound (340g) ciabatta or rustic sourdough bread, cut into 1 1/2–inch cubes (about 6 cups bread cubes)
  • 10 tablespoons (150ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 ounce) packed basil leaves, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. 1.

    Place tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl and season with 2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt. Toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature to drain, tossing occasionally, while you toast the bread. Drain for a minimum of 15 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and adjust rack to center position. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and firm but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

  3. 3.

    Remove colander with tomatoes from bowl with tomato juice. Place colander with tomatoes in the sink. Add shallot, garlic, mustard, and vinegar to the bowl with tomato juice. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. 4.

    Combine toasted bread, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl. Add basil leaves. Toss everything to coat and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 30 minutes before serving, tossing occasionally until dressing is completely absorbed by bread.