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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!