Panzanella Salad


Panzanella is the most divine Tuscan salad made with cubes of crusty (stale) bread, tomatoes and onions. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar (I used sherry vinegar but red wine vinegar would also taste great), a touch of sweet maple syrup, and of course, salt and pepper -- and that's it! It is the perfect dish for succumbing to the summer heat, and comes together in just minutes.


To cool us down even more, I also included chopped cucumber in the salad, and threw in a few cloves of minced garlic for good measure. A heavy hand with the salt and pepper will do you well with this dish, and a few torn basil leaves at the end is the perfect garnish. 


This is definitely our new summer favorite and will be our go-to for many hot nights to come! Mangia!



Ingredients
about 3/4 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 large cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil leaves, torn, for garnish if desired

Instructions
In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 1/4 cup olive oil. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread to hot skillet and toast until golden and crisp, stirring often to prevent burning (about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool completely. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, maple syrup, and season to taste with salt and pepper. To assemble, add bread, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and garlic to a large bowl and toss with dressing until evenly coated. Season with more salt and pepper and garnish with basil if desired.

Serves 4

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