Time For Panzanella

by Karen on Monday, September 19, 2011

Post image for Time For Panzanella

One month into my first year in law school and as I had anticipated time is not on my side.  So when I had a window of opportunity this weekend to do something beside studying or sleeping, I gave my knives a little food lovin’ and made some panzanella, my knives are brand new, they were a great gift and funny that I read this are popular knives in the self defense scene, you can check in this website if you are interested in them. Panzanella is one of those incredibly easy “salads” that’s perfect for using up old stale bread.  It’s a popular Italian dish that mixes fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions or any colorful ingredient that tastes like summer with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and vinegar.  Because the ingredients are to be enjoyed unadulterated, fresh and seasonal vegetables are important here.  So seize those  plump tomatoes on the vine and celebrate the last of summer with a small plate of happiness.

Panzanella often calls for basil but when I saw this recipe from the Kitchn using mint, I knew I wanted to try it!  The wonderful thing about panzanella is that it lends itself very well to interpretation so use whatever ingredients you prefer.

– 1 lb of rustic bread
– 1 lb of tomatoes (on the vine, heirloom…)
– 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
– 2 spoonfuls of capers drained
– 1 English cucumber
– 2 anchovies
– handful of mint
– handful of flat leaf parsley
– 1 small clove of garlic
– kosher or sea salt
– freshly ground black pepper
– good extra virgin olive oil
– sherry vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Tear the bread up into bit size pieces.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  Toss to lightly coat and place in the oven.  Bake for about 10 minutes until slightly golden.

Place the sliced onions in a bowl and sprinkle a heavy pinch of salt over them and toss.  I do this to take that bite out of raw onions, which I find sometimes overwhelming.  Let them sit for at least 15 minutes and then rinse in water.

Slice the cucumber down the middle and then into sliced half-moons.

Cut the tomatoes in half or in wedges, depending on how large your tomatoes are.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the anchovies, garlic and a pinch of salt together into a paste.  Then add a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil (about 1/3 cup) and a couple splashes of vinegar, and mix well.

Place all the vegetables in a large bowl.  Add the capers. Thinly slice the mint and flat leaf parsley and add to the bowl.

When the bread is done, add them to the bowl of vegetables and herbs.  Pour the dressing over the bread and toss all together.  Let the mixture sit for about at least an hour so the flavors meld together and the bread soaks up all that loveliness.


(Adapted from the Kitchn)



Lan September 19, 2011 at 8:31 am

when i saw this recipe i remember thinking the addition of mint was genius. overall, i’m not the biggest fan of mint but when used right and sparingly, it adds such a loveliness to a dish.

personally i always include avocado for some creaminess… and also because i love the hell out of that veg/fruit.

Joyti September 19, 2011 at 10:34 am

Yum! I’ve heard a lot about panzanella, but I’ve never tried it. Looks like a great use for the summer tomatoes we get this time of year.
And your photos are so lovely too…

Gelareh September 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

mmmmmm….this looks delicious! such a good idea and very student friendly 🙂 light, fresh and won’t make you fall asleep!!

Nadia September 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

just my kind of dish – I’m savoring the last but of summer produce, but it’s already Fall here.

good luck with law school, be sure to take some breaks and share your yummy recipes with us. 🙂

Belinda @zomppa September 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

A beautiful dish…don’t forget to take a breather in all that craziness of first year and cook!

deana@lostpastremembered September 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Since I just make an proto-panzanella from ancient Rome last week… how many people can say that?? It was really good with bread and cucumbers and a great vinaigrette (no tomatoes of course) so I am all over your recipe. I had forgotten how good bread salad could be!

Hope school isn’t killing you too much… impressed you have a moment to cook… you are superwoman!

Deana September 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Yummy! And beautiful photos as always!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen September 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I can imagine how incredibly busy you must be. Good luck with your first year of law school!

Valerie September 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Gorgeous as always, Karen. Love the pics of the heirlooms… makes my mouth water!

Kelsey (Happyolks) September 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Oh my, I have friends in law school who say the first couple months are quite brutal. Hang in there, woman. Sending lots of good juju your way! As for the panzanella… THANK YOU so much for still featuring Tomatoes! The season for these beauties isn’t over yet, and everyone has already moved on to winter squash/pumpkin. MmmMmm.

Kankana September 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I really don’t know why I never made this salad at home. I usually make some green salad and add croutons to that but never panzanella in specific! Glad u got some time out from the busy schedule!

lynn @ the actor's diet October 11, 2011 at 11:27 pm

i swear, stale bread recipes are always my favorite!

Ketsuko October 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm

It looks very delicious. It is very colorful. I want to eat it! It is Italian. Italian can eat easy!!! It is very witching.

Aquascoop October 15, 2011 at 4:15 am

I had anticipated time is not on my side. So when I had a window of opportunity this weekend to do something beside studying or sleeping, I gave my knives a little food lovin’ and made some panzanella.

Mely@MexicoinmyKitchen October 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

I hope everything is going well with school and soon you have a break to blog some of your delicious recipes.

Take care,


Turkey's For Life October 31, 2011 at 1:54 am

There’s always time for panzanella! 🙂 We love it and this recipe looks really interesting. Good luck with your law school studies.

Karen November 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Thanks Julia!

Blacksheepyoga November 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hey Darling,
I love it! Looks absolutely delicious; and like something I could actually make. Oh and your pictures are really stunning.


Karen November 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thanks love 🙂

Creative Photo Albums February 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I’ve heard a lot about panzella but never tried making one. I guess, I’ll be making one this weekend. I’m pretty sure I’d love this. Thanks for sharing!

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