Panzanella Salad with Heirloom Tomato + Fennel

Panzanella is a beautiful, rustic salad full of fresh tomatoes and warm, crusty bread generously seasoned with fresh herbs and olive oil.  The freshness and simplicity of this dish make it a perfect late summer dish — enjoyed on its own or as an easy side along, say, a nice grilled steak.

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It seems like this time of year everyone has more tomatoes than they know what to do with!  I used a variety of small heirloom tomatoes, but you can really used any tomatoes you have on hand — just be sure to cut them in bite size pieces for easy grazing.

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Most panzanella salads are made with fresh herbs such as basil.  I went for a twist on the classic tomato-basil-garlic combo and added in slices of fresh fennel bulb and sprigs of the fennel fronds as well.  The sweet, licorice-y taste of fennel balances out the saltiness and acidity of the tomatoes and olives to make a perfectly satisfying bite.

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Panzanella Salad with Heirloom Tomato + Fennel
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small loaf ciabatta bread / cut into bite size pieces / about 4-5 cups
  • 1 pint heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata olives / pitted and halved
  • 2 cloves garlic / minced
  • ½ fennel bulb / thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fennel fronds / roughly chopped
  • 3 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz goat cheese / optional
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt + pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a large baking sheet, spread out bread chunks in an even layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Once bread has been toasted, combine all ingredients (minus goat cheese) in a large serving bowl and lightly toss. Top with with goat cheese crumbles and serve!

 

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