Centuries ago in Italy, when bread was baked only once each week, families would use leftover loaves by soaking the bread in olive oil and vinegar. The revitalized bread would be tossed with whatever was growing in the garden — and the panzanella salad was born. It’s the most delicious way to eat what’s in season now.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can mix it up and make it with simple ingredients you already have at home, so nothing goes to waste. Here’s Chef ILona Daniel’s easy recipe for Spring Panzanella Salad.
8 slices Oroweat 22 Grains and Seeds Sliced Bread
4 cups chopped tomatoes
1 large English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced into thin half moons
1 each red, orange and yellow baby bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 pkg (190 g) fresh mozzarella
1 bunch basil, torn or cut into rustic ribbons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Lightly brush the sliced bread (both sides) with oil and then slice into 1-inch cubes.
Bake in a 300°F oven until hardened on the outside but still slightly soft in the middle, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.
Combine the bread and chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over top and use a spatula to thoroughly combine, then place onto a serving bowl or platter.
Tear the mozzarella into bite-size pieces and arrange it atop the salad. Garnish with a smattering of basil.
Chef ILona Daniel is Harrowsmith’s Food Editor and the founder of Tribe Fresh Events and Consulting, a purpose-driven insights consultancy accelerated by modern approaches to the hospitality industry, immersive experiences, and community and culture development. She has worked on projects around the world and is on the Board of Directors for the Tourism Association of PEI. Chef Ilona is a media personality, and a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada.