I love Panzanella- Bread salad with tomatoes and mozzarella- made traditionally with day old crusty Italian bread, a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and anything else leftover. My favorite combo is bread and dressing, tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Kalamata olives would be a perfect ingredient, but last time I made it, I was serving it to the under 12 crowd, and a few adults, so I passed on the olives.
It’s easy, and fresh, and takes just a few minutes to make. After our family dinner, I was going to throw out the leftovers until my niece, Amity said she wanted to take it home. Amity (whose name means peacefulness and friendliness- a perfect description of her) is an Art Therapist, and has an artistic flair for everything from painting to cooking. She had already come up with a plan for the leftovers- The next morning she whipped up a few eggs, added some cheese and poured it all into a pan to bake. Amity’s Italian breakfast! Her brother Brandon called and they both gave me a detailed review of the dish, which they both declared a winner!
- 1 loaf dense crusty Italian Bread
- 1 -2 lbs fresh mozzarella cubed
- 2 large tomatoes cut into large chunks total of about 2 cups
- 1 cup Kalamata olives pitted
- 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine all dressing ingredients. Place the cubed bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until toasted.(If you are short on time, or like the bread fresh and not toasted, skip this step).
In a large bowl, combine bread, cheese, tomatoes, olives and basil. Pour dressing over top, toss and serve immediately.