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.