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Panzanella Salad

This is one of my favorite salads that brings a taste of summer travel no matter when I make it. I started making this as a way to use up bread that was getting a little stale while we were traveling in our RV. Since then, we always look for day old bread in every bakery and grocery store we find. This recipe begs to be modified. I sometimes add chopped luncheon meats, leafy greens or fun touches like capers to add variety. Just about anything you have can go in this salad.


 day old Italian crusty bread, cubed
 ripe tomatoes, one per person
 onion, sliced very thin
 fresh Basil, chopped fine
 olives, pitted and chopped fine
 white cheese (parmesan, feta or mozzarella)
-=[ Dressing ]=- 1/2 cup olive oil, extra virgin if possible 1/4 cup vinegar (balsamic, red wine, rice wine, or cider) 1/4 cup lemon juice garlic, crushed Salt and pepper to taste


Make sure the bread is not fresh (soft) or it turns sticky in this salad. If needed, toast the bread or leave it uncovered in the RV to dry out for a while. You may cut the crust off if you like a more consistent texture, but some people like bread chunks that have a good bite even after soaking up the dressing. The bread cubes should be bite sized and there should be enough to fill about half of your salad bowl. Cut one good sized tomato for each person you want to serve into bite sized pieces and put on top of the bread. Cut the onion into thin slices and add to the salad bowl. Chop enough olives to suit your taste into small pieces and add to the salad bowl. Black olives give the salad a Mediterranean flavor. If you roll the fresh basil leaves together and cut across the roll you can make very thin ribbons so every bite of salad gets a hint of basil without ever being overwhelming. If you do not have fresh basil, you can use dried Italian herbs or seasonings, but add them to the dressing first. Slice the cheese as thin as possible on top of the salad.

The vinaigrette dressing is made up of crushed garlic, 1 part vinegar, 1 part lemon juice with 2 parts olive oil mixed together with a fork or whisk. If the dressing turns out too tart for your taste, add a spoon full of water and mix again.

Pour the vinaigrette dressing over the whole salad and mix well to coat everything evenly. You can eat right away, but this salad gets better with time. If you can let it sit for half an hour or so, the bread will soak up most of the dressing and become very yummy and flavorful. This is a whole meal for us and is very easy to substitute any fresh ingredients we happen have.

Serves: ?
Bread Onions Cheese Balsamic_Vinegar No-Cook

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You may notice that some of our recipes do not contain exact measurements for all ingredients. Cooking on the road is an art more than a science. We view each recipe as only a suggestion - a starting point for your own personal creativity.

We aren't usually dealing with food chemistry in these recipes since we aren't baking with leavening, etc., so feel free to use as much or as little of any suggested ingredient. Be creative and imaginative! Substitute the foods you like or have available for the ones in the recipes. And if you find something that turns out well for you, please share it with the rest of us.