Panzanella is one of those little dishes where you get to blend together big seasonal flavors like juicy ripe summer tomatoes along with other complementary fresh ingredients and then, just in its finish, proving the brilliance of Italian cuisine, you get to use up your day old crusty bread by tossing it through and mixing it all up together thus creating one beautiful, tasty salad. Wow.
Today’s Panzanella star, besides the juicy ripe tomatoes and the nicely baked off bread chunks from a crusty loaf features artichokes mainly because they looked so good freshly placed in the olive bar section around the corner form Carolyn and Roger’s home in Vegas.
Simply dressed with some garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil then finished with a good handful of fresh sliced basil this Artichoke Panzanella made the list of five star salads to serve at any next gathering this BBQ season, including the upcoming 4th of July. Happy Celebrating!
- 12 long stem or standard grilled artichokes, wide artichoke pieces halved lengthwise
- 4-5 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, cored, halved then sliced into wedges
- 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1/2 medium sized red onion thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, thinly sliced, plus a couple small tops for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- scant quarter cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 loaf of day old crusty bread, cut into one inch cubes, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper then baked in a preheated 225 degree oven around twenty minutes to a half hour until all moisture has been absorbed and bread pieces are lightly crunchy
- couple pinches coarse kosher salt, more to taste
- few grinds fresh cracked black pepper
- Into a large wide bowl gently toss the artichokes, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, and basil
- Into a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil, stir in the garlic, whisk to combine
- Pour dressing into the salad mixture, toss lightly
- Toss in the bread chunks folding through five to ten minutes before serving
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning and adjust to taste
- Transfer Panzanella to a serving platter, garnish with remaining small pieces of basil