For once, our Swiss Summer is hot and sunny through and through. 30°C/85°F plus for days in a row - this is something we rarely get to experience over here. We spend every free minute swimming in the river or gathering with friends for garden parties. Needless to say, at the Moment I am not too keen to spend my days in the kitchen or anywhere near the oven. But delicious, nourishing food - we still want that. So I prepare a lot a smoothies, salads and cold soups like gazpacho or almond gazpacho. And this panzanella (Italian bread salad with tomatoes) has become a favorite.
We are big bread lovers and go though a loaf of fresh bread almost every day. But every once in a while we are left with some bread gone stale. I usually chop it up and make croutons for salads (fried in olive oil, with some garlic added). But this panzanella here is another great way to use stale bread. We actually love it so much that I sometimes buy an extra loaf of bread to make sure we will have enough to make this salad. Easy to do and so delicious!
250g (1/2lb) stale bread (rye works really well)
60ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
60ml (1/4 cup) of your best olive oil
1 garlic clove (minced)
500g (1lb) cherry tomatoes (or other tomatoes, heirloom work especially well)
a good handful fresh basil
1 celery stalk
1 small red onion
salt and pepper plus oregano and more olive oil for seasoning
Chop the bread into bite-size cubes, the celery and onion into thin slices, and half or quarter the cherry tomatoes.
Place the bread into a big salad bowl, add garlic, vinegar and olive oil and mix well with your hands. You want to "massage" the dressing into the bread.
Add tomatoes, celery, onion and basil leaves and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle more olive oil over the salad and place the salad into the refrigerator for a while for all the flavors to mingle (I try to prepare the salad at least half an hour before we are going to eat).
Enjoy this great salad, enjoy summer wherever you are and maybe dream of Italy!