I love Panzanella. My Pea Panzanella is to-die-for. This recipe is a different take on the bread dish, with heart-healthy Mediterranean flavors. The classic combination of tomato, basil, and Mozzarella come together in a different way, making for one tasty meal....actually, way beyond tasty. My husband and I savored this dish--it is so so good. Serve it as an entree or a side dish to a lean meat.
I adapted the recipe from one I found in Gourmet magazine.
3/4 Loaf Italian or French Bread, cut into 1" pieces (1 day old is best)
1/4 Cup, plus 1 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Capers, Drained and Chopped.
15-16 oz Tomatoes, Cut into 1" pieces (or buy canned, diced, to save time--be sure to drain the juice)
8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1" pieces
6 oz. Diced Ham or Prosciutto (I just used deli sliced ham)
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil (3 Tbsp. Dried, but best to get fresh for this recipe)
1 Small Red Onion, thinly sliced (optional to add more flavor--I did not add--if you know my aversion to fresh onions, you understand).
Oh and ignore the lettuce in the photo at the right--we had a side salad with our meal, but the lettuce is definitely not a key ingredient.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (or line with foil and spray that with cooking spray).
2. In a large bowl, toss bread pieces with 1 Tbsp. oil and pepper. Spread bread mix onto baking sheet into 1 layer. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until bread is lightly browned (outer part will be crunchy and the middle will still be a little soft).
3. Whisk together the garlic, vinegar, capers, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in large bowl.
4. Add bread, tomatoes, Mozzarella, ham, and basil to bowl and stir and toss well to cat. Let flavors sit for 20-30 minutes, at room temperature, before serving. Or, make a couple hours ahead of time and chill in refrigerator (then serve at room temperature).