Panzanella is a bread topping designed to use leftover bread. It is often used with red wine vinegar. This recipe uses aceto balsamico gran reserva.
This preparation works well with fresh bread cut in three quarters of an inch in thickness. It is also best to toast fresh bread before using.
One half loaf of day old Italian bread cut into 1/2″ cubes
two red ripe tomatoes, remove seeds, dice into half-inch pieces
one cucumber, peeled, and chopped into half-inch chunks
three cloves garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
one half cup chopped red onion
one half cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
three sprigs of fresh basil, to use for garnish
one third cup extra-virgin olive oil
one quarter cup Grand Reserva Modena balsamic vinegar
one pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, add cubed bread, onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes. Place garlic cloves, chopped basil, and balsamic vinegar in a blender and process until smooth. Leave the blender running, and slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toast the bread if you are using fresh bread. Combine the bread and vegetable mixture with the puréed dressing and garnish with sprigs of basil. Serve immediately. Should make about six servings
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