California Central Coast Recipes
Tomato and Bread Salad
This is our version of the classic Tuscan Panzanella - Bread Salad. Unlike the Tuscan version which uses stale bread which you moisten with water, we prefer to use a lighter fresh bread such as a Filone or Pugliese and make it fresh.
Ideally you should make this with tomatoes that are at their summer peak in tastiness. We especially like to use heirloom tomatoes with their kaleidoscope of colors and flavors, but fresh picked red tomatoes work well too.
This is a very colorful salad that makes an ideal appetizer or on a hot Summer night this salad and a good bottle of wine is all you need for dinner.
Preparation time: 20 minutesCooking time:
1 loaf Fresh Crusty Bread , cut into 3/4 inch pieces ( about 8 loosely packed cups)
8 ripe tomatoes , cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 sweet onion , cut into very thin slices then separated
1/2 English cucumber , sliced into very thin slices then quartered
20 large Basil leaves , torn
3 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar
6 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 Place the cut bread in a large salad bowl. Then add in the tomato pieces distributing well and toss. Add in the onion, separating the sections into individual rings. Toss to distribute evenly. Add in the cucumber pieces. Toss to distribute evenly. Then add the torn Basil pieces and toss to distribute.
2 In a glass measuring cup or separate bowl, measure out the red wine vinegar. Add to that the extra-virgin olive oil. Mix well. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
3 Pour the vinaigrette over the bread salad and toss the salad well to distribute evenly. Correct flavor by adding more vinegar, oil, salt or pepper if needed for balance.
4 Cover the salad bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes to marinate all ingredients well, then serve.
This salad pairs well with practically any chilled light- low oak, white wine. If the tomatoes are sweet and in season, a Riesling is a good option.
It also pairs very well with practically any red wine with a little bit of acidity to match the vinaigrette. We like it with a young Zinfandel.