Panzanella Salad

Serve with Morovino Barbera or Sangiovese.

Panzanella is a lovely salad made from rustic bread and tomatoes. It’s a really nice alternative to a pasta salad for a potluck or buffet. I like to make this with the amazing breads from Avila Barn (the Jalapeno/Asiago and the Rosemary Garlic breads are AWESOME in this salad). Use the best olive oil and balsamic you can.

1 loaf “interesting” bread (like garlic/rosemary sourdough bread)
3 ripe tomatoes diced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 clove minced garlic
1 t. garlic powder
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¼ c. nice olive oil (dressing)
Extra olive oil to drizzle (while cooking bread)
2 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat your broiler. Chop the bread into crouton size pieces. Put the bread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil and sprinkle it with garlic powder. Put the bread under the broiler until it begins to lightly color. Pull the tray out and stir the bread cubes around to make sure they are lightly toasting on every side.  Let cool.  In a large salad bowl, combine bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, basil and thyme and toss. You can make it ahead to this point. It will hold for a couple of hours. Prior to serving, add ¼ c. of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar and toss again.  Great crunch, tangy, garlicky perfection.

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