As summer hits full speed, most people with gardens find themselves overwhelmed with tomatoes and/or zucchini. Prolific producers, these two are classic markers of the height of summer. This is also when tomatoes and zucchini are on sale at the grocery, and can be bought at the lowest price at farmer’s markets.
Once you have had your fill of eating tomatoes plain or with salt (the very best way, in my opinion), zucchini diced up in stir fry and as zoodles, and tomatoes on your salad, you may ask yourself, what else can I do with the twenty pounds I still have?
A good answer is: make this healthy, refreshing panzanella!
Panzanella, pronounced pan-za-nay-ya, is a Tuscan dish traditionally based on onions and stale bread. Some time in the 20th century tomatoes came into the picture and took center stage. Now most panzanella recipes are based on stale bread moistened with olive oil and vinegar, and tomatoes, with other ingredients like onion, basil, and garlic commonly added.
This salad is a fantastic side dish or snack, and can even be a light main meal in the summer heat. It can take advantage of old bread which might otherwise be thrown away, or you can toast fresh bread to get the same texture.
- 3-4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini
- 4 slices bread, toasted
- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Step 1: Toast your bread, or use a few days’ old bread. I smeared a bit of butter and Italian seasonings on mine. You can use whatever type of bread you like.
Step 2: Slice or shred your zucchini. I used my mandoline to make thin ribbons so they would take the marinade easier. Dice your tomatoes into cubes and chop the garlic. Mix in a bowl with the lemon juice, oil & vinegar.
Step 3: Cut the bread into cubes, and mix everything together. You can leave this in the refrigerator for an hour or two to mix and meld the flavors, but don’t leave it too much longer than 1-2 hours or the bread goes from crisp but moist, to soggy.
Add salt & pepper to taste, and enjoy!