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Panzanella - Tuscan Bread Salad

Panzanella - Tuscan Bread Salad

Serves: 4
Level of Difficulty: Easy


600 grams day old hard Tuscan or other crusty bread
3-4 tomatoes chopped
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
2 pears peeled and chopped
10-15 torn basil leaves
3 tbsp pine nuts
2/3 of a cup good quality olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (should be about a 60/40 mix oil to vinegar)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Soak the bread in water until it becomes soft (5-10 minutes)
2. Place the cucumbers and tomatoes in a colander with a little salt and toss. Let them sit for a few minutes to let some of the juices drain off.
3. Place the sliced onion in a bowl of ice water and let sit for a few minutes.
4. In the meantime mix together your oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
5. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, pears and pine nuts in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil dressing.
6. Squeeze the water from the bread and add it into the vegetables. Toss again.
7. Serve immediately or let sit for a couple of hours to let the flavors combine.

Variation: Truffled Panzanella - Eliminate the red wine vinager, pears and pine nuts. Add 1-2 tsp white truffle oil into your olive oil and toss a little thinly shaved truffle into your panzanella.

This recipe was created by Melanie Secciani, chef and owner of The Spice Lab, offering cooking classes in the heart of Florence Italy.

Complementary Wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, Morellino di Scansano, Vernaccia Di San Gimignano

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