Summer Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

Panzanella is a great, versatile salad because you can use a variety of fresh, seasonal produce. Traditionally, panzanella is made with bread that is soaked with water and squeezed dry, then tomatoes, onions and basil are added with an oil and vinegar dressing. Mine isn’t a traditional recipe; I like to make it with crunchy homemade seasoned croutons that are moistened with dressing rather than water. I also wanted the salad to incorporate some of the terrific produce I got in my CSA bag this week from La Nay Ferme and a few things from our own garden. This week’s bag contained sorrel, basil, zucchini, green onions, and heirloom tomatoes, among other things. I used all of those in addition to red and white radishes from last week’s bag for extra flavor and crunch. I also included purple green beans and the last of the fava beans, both from our garden. The fava beans were a great addition, if you have access to them.

Summer Panzanella
6 thick slices Artisan bread (I used a Pugliese loaf from Costco) to make 5 c. cubed bread
seasoning for the bread – olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground sumac
1-1/3 c. diced tomatoes
1 c. diced zucchini
3/4 c. cooked fresh fava beans
1/2 c. cooked green beans
1/2 c. chopped sorrel
1/3 c. chopped or sliced radishes
1/4 c. roasted red pepper strips
1-2 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
25 fresh basil leaves, torn

Dressing
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the broiler to high for the croutons. Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle each slice with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and sumac. Place under the broiler and broil 1-2 minutes until golden. Turn bread over and broil 1 more minute. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes to cool. Cut into bite size cubes and place in the bottom of a salad bowl. Add remaining ingredients except for basil. Toss to mix vegetables. Combine dressing ingredients and stir. Add all but 1/4 cup of dressing and toss. Garnish with the torn basil leaves. Serve with extra dressing on the side for individuals who may like the salad more moist. Serves 6.

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