Perfect Panzanella

Since tomatoes are not really great yet in New Jersey, I can always count on cherry tomatoes in the net bag. They are sweet and dependable all year round. I make my panzanella salad at the end of the summer when all the Jersey tomatoes are overpopulated, but now the little guys will have to do!
I had a leftover baguette from Balthazar Bakery in NYC, and froze it, knowing I would make this salad someday soon.
This is a great way to use stale bread.

Panzanella Salad:

2 lbs. of ripe tomatoes, you can use any combination of cherry, yellow, etc.
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 c. of pitted, chopped kalamata olives
1/2 c. fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 loaf or more of stale bread

Dressing: (this makes a lot of dressing, so use the remainder for another dinner)

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. good extra virgin olive oil (I like Frantoia from Italy)
1 clove minced garlic
kosher salt and pepper

Tear your bread into rough pieces. Today, I decided to toast the bread w/ a little olive oil and make big croutons for a change. Toss all ingredients together with some of the dressing until the bread cubes are absorbed.
This salad is best made about an hour ahead, and left at room temperature.
I would not be mad at you if you added some fresh mozzarella to the salad to make this a heartier main course.
It is SO good!


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