Panzanella is an Italian bread salad. Classically it is prepared by dipping day-old, stale Italian bread (waste not, want not) in water, adding fresh chunks of tomatoes, red onion, salt & pepper, torn basil, and toss with a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. My version uses heirloom grape tomatoes with the addition of fresh summer peaches! Since I didn’t have any leftover crusty bread, I used these dried bread discs called Frezzelle from D’Amato’s, my favorite Chicago bakery. They are specifically for making panzanella, and reminiscent of my childhood!
Peach Panzanella Salad with Honey Cardamom Vinaigrette
- 8 oz. Frezzelle or stale Italian bread
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 oz grape heirloom tomatoes cut in half
- ½ cucumber seeded and diced
- ½ cup sliced red onion rings optional
- 4 large ripe fresh peaches, peeled, sliced (peeling is optional)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves cut in strips
Break up the frezzelle into bite-size pieces and place in large, shallow bowl.
Make the dressing by whisking together vinegar, honey, water, cardamon, salt & pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking at the end.
Add the tomatoes and cucumbers to the bread. Pour the dressing over the bread and vegetables and toss so each piece of bread is coated.
Let the bread sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the dressing and slightly soften.
If the peaches are soft just add them to the salad. If they are too firm, you can grill them in a drop of olive oil to soften first.
Add the peaches and torn basil leaves to the salad and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.
Chill or serve at room temperature.