What is panzanella, exactly? When I show up to a potluck with it (because it's super easy to make, my friends), people are always like, "What is that?" And I'm like, "panzanella," and then they stare at me, all mad for throwing fancy Italian words around, and then I go, "bread salad," and then I get a look of confusion and intrigue, but then they eat it, and they never ask what panzanella is ever again.
At its most basic, panzanella is pretty much day-old, fried bread and tomatoes. I usually like mine drizzled with olive oil, with finely chopped red onions and them some cucumbers thrown in there (which is weird, because I don't really even like cucumbers). And then I add feta because I'm the worst person ever, but it's soooo good.
Really, you can do whatever you want to panzanella. It's a great recipe to adapt to seasonal fruits and vegetables, and it's a great potluck addition, because it's so easy to make, though it doesn't have too long of a shelf life because the bread can sometimes get soggy. But that's fine, because it will be gone fast.
But never fear! This panzanella can be fresh, day old, or refrigerated, and it's good all three ways. And ours is sweet, not savory, because we like to mix it up around here. What's your favorite way to have panzanella? And can you make it for me, please, because I'm sick of making dinner.
- 2 T mild olive oil (can sub for coconut oil)
- 4 cups cut-up sweet bread (I used Italian pannettone — pound cake or angel food cake would be great, too)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 3/4 cup raspberries
- 3/4 cup blueberries (or just 3 cups mixed berries of choices)
- 1 cup balsamic
- 1/4 cup honey
- 5-6 basil leaves
- In a small saucepan, combine balsamic and honey and turn burner up to medium heat. Cook the mixture for 15-20 minutes until it is reduced by half, stirring every so often to prevent it from burning the bottom of the pan. Once it's finished, set out to cool. You can store anything you don't use in an airtight container (I prefer a mason jar) in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
- In a large skillet (I used my iron skillet), heat up olive oil and throw on your chunks of bread. Stir frequently, turning the bread to coat it in the oil, until it starts to get crispy. Don't worry if it chars slightly.
- Turn off the burner and let the bread cool slightly. Throw your berries in a large bowl and once the bread is no longer hot to the touch, add it in.
- Chiffonade your basil leaves. Add them on top of the bread mixture and serve immediately with the balsamic reduction on the side. Drizzle over your sweet bread salad to your liking.
- If you have any leftovers, it's surprisingly good for leftovers. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2016. All rights reserved.