Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad AKA Panzanella

LUCY BURDETTE: If I've caught you at the right time, you might have tomatoes and basil left in your fall garden, but not a lot else. Anyway, that's our situation--and it's the perfect time to make Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad, otherwise known as panzanella. 

There are tons of variations, so feel free to leave out an ingredient if you don't like it or adjust the quantities.


3-5 ripe tomatoes, chopped into chunks and mostly seeded
3-4 peppers, different colors preferably (I used one red, one yellow, and two small green), seeded and chopped into chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cucumber, washed, seeded and chunked
20 or so basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons capers

About 6 cups of good bread, cubed 
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 cup vinaigrette (Mix 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, sugar, good French mustard in a small jar. Add a splash of water and shake until combined. Add 1/4 cup good olive oil and shake again. Add 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar, shake again.)

Wash, seed and chunk all the vegetables and combine them in a large bowl. Try to remove most of the seeds and juice from the tomatoes. Mix in basil and capers.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil with the salt. Saute the bread cubes about 10 minutes or until crispy and brown. (Try not to eat too many of the croutons before you serve!) This is where I use up the ends and semi-stale pieces of bread in our freezer--we buy a nice loaf each week from the farmer's market and there's always a little left over.


Fold the croutons into the vegetables, add the vinaigrette, and toss gently. Serve after 15-30 minutes, giving the flavors time to mix and mingle.

Then sit back and accept the compliments!


 Murder With Ganache, the fourth book in Lucy's Key West series, will be out in February 2014-chocolate for Valentine's day! You can preorder right here.

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  1. Sounds yummy, on my list to try!

  2. The cucumbers are done. All the rain this summer ruined the tomato crops. There aren't even any left at the farmer's market! But we do have green peppers and basil, so I'm half way there for this recipe. I love using the leftover bread!


  3. Looks so pretty...hate to see summer ending!

  4. Sorry about your tomato crop Krista-- that's one thing that did well for us this year! I hate to see the summer go too...l

  5. Lucy/Roberta - Lovely post! We have beautiful tomatoes in our local market right now, so this will come in handy for us. And great idea on keeping the last bits of bread in the freezer for croutons. We often toss and shouldn't (waste not). Have a delicious weekend...

    ~ Cleo

  6. With us living in a townhouse now and not being able to have a garden, what I miss most is fresh picked tomatoes. I never even got to the one local farm stand this year to get tomatoes!!! This recipe sounds sooooo good but it needs nice fresh juicy tomatoes and not sure if I can find any around. The grocery store variety just doesn't do it for me. Just wish I knew someone with an over abundance who wanted a good home for some tomatoes. :) I will make this as soon as I can find the right ingredients. I love to make croutons just to snack on instead of high fat chips. Thank you for the inspirations and the great posting.

  7. Lucy, lovely. This is one of my husband's favorite appetizers!!!


    Daryl / Avery