From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Gnocchi and Panzanella
When the rustic Italian bread salad panzanella is done well, the sweet juice of the tomatoes mixes with a bright-tasting vinaigrette, moistening chunks of thick-crusted bread until they’re soft and just a little chewy—but the line between lightly moistened and unpleasantly soggy is very thin. Toasting fresh bread in the oven, rather than using the traditional day-old bread, was a good start. The bread lost enough moisture in the oven to absorb the dressing without getting waterlogged. A 10-minute soak in the flavorful dressing yielded perfectly moistened, nutty-tasting bread ready to be tossed with the tomatoes, which we salted to intensify their flavor. A thinly sliced cucumber and shallot for crunch and bite plus a handful of chopped fresh basil perfected our salad.
The biggest challenge in making this classic Italian tomato-bread salad is solving an age-old quandary: What's the best way to deal with the bread?Watch the Video
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
The success of this recipe depends on ripe, in-season tomatoes and a fruity, high-quality olive oil.