Friday, 11 January 2013

Panzanella - An Italian Salad



"Panzanella" or "Panmolle" is an Italian (Florentine) salad of bread and tomatoes. It includes chunks of soaked old bread and tomatoes dressed with olive oil and vinegar and some basil. Sometimes cucumbers  and onions are also added.
Whenever I have traveled to Europe, I've always had "Panzanella" since its not just healthy but also filling due to the bread in it...
Of course nowadays this salad is available in all Italian restaurants in India.
And its easy to make at home too....
This is a meal in itself..... especially when you are alone and do not want to put much effort into cooking an entire meal.
Serves 2
Ingredients:
Bread - has to be a bit old not fresh - 4 slices cut into cubes ( I have used 1/2 of a leftover french loaf)
Red wine vinegar - 1 tbsp
Extra virgin Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Cherry Tomatoes - 10 - cut into halves or Medium sized tomatoes - 3 - blanced, peeled and cut into cubes
Cucumber - 1 - diced
Onion - 1 - diced
Basil leaves - 6 to 8 - finely chopped
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Cheddar cheese - grated - Optional - to garnish

Method:
Take a large bowl, put the bread cubes in it, add salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Allow to soak for about 15 minutes or more.
Now toast these bread cubes in an oven or grill or a pan/griddle for 8-10 minutes till crisp and golden.
You could also use these bread cubes directly.
Now put these bread cubes in a large bowl (toasted or  or not toasted), add the cucumber cubes , tomato cubes, onion cubes, chopped basil leaves and mix well. 
Serve as it is or garnish it with grated Cheddar cheese if you like !!

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