Just the thought of this Stone Fruit, Tomato, and Corn Panzanella makes me smile. It reminds me of eating outside while it’s still light out, cold rosé in a foggy glass, after-dinner walks during golden hour. It’s mid-August, and it’s time to soak up every last ray of warm sun that we can—and that includes what’s on our plates. Packed with juicy, fresh produce and crispy cubes of bread tossed in a punchy vinaigrette, this is the ultimate salad to celebrate summer.
For the best flavor, use local, in-season crops. You’ve probably heard that advice before, but it’s worth mentioning again (hear me out!). A tomato shipped from another country is just no match for a ripe, taut, cherry-red tomato grown down the street. And no, you don’t have to live near rolling hills of farmland to find farms (ahem—I live in Queens). If you’re not sure where to find a farmers market or CSA near you, search for one on localharvest.org.
What is panzanella?
Panzanella is a bread salad popular in Tuscany and throughout the Mediterranean. Traditionally made with dried bread, vegetables, olive oil, and sometimes a splash of vinegar, it was born as a way to use up stale carbs. Centuries later, it’s still a genius solution for that loaf of ciabatta you don’t want to trash, but it also works with fresh slices dried out in the oven. Sweet, juicy tomatoes shine here because they rehydrate the bread, but any vegetable will do. Try it with cucumbers or cubed melon, add cheese or bits of salty meat, pack it with fresh herbs. Nix the meat and cheese to make it vegan or keep it simple and serve it as a side dish with a protein.
Panzanella can be a catchall for everything you’re trying to use up in the fridge or a stunning vegetarian main dish you made lovinging from scratch. Really, it’s more of a verb, an action for throwing together a colorful combination of produce and bread as one last homage to the summer. Let’s panzanella, shall we?
What to serve with panzanella:
Let’s make Stone Fruit, Tomato, and Corn Panzanella