Panzanella (Stale Bread Summer Entree)

This is a traditional farmer’s dish which is made with stale bread and garden vegetables. The farmers in Italy, especially during the months of July and August when the droughts start getting really hard, only have water for their tomatoes and basil and they save their bread. So they bake it once a week and when it’s stale they  make panzanella.


Prep Time: 60 min / Inactive Prep: 45 min Cook Time: 0 min / Serves:6

8 ounces stale bread (3 to 4 days old), sliced*
Cold water, as needed
4 vine-ripened tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped medium fine
1 European cucumber, halved and sliced into half moons
2 handfuls fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil

Add the stale bread to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the bread soak for 45 minutes.


Remove the bread from the water and discard the water. With your hands squeeze it dry, removing the excess water, while breaking into big crumbs.


In a serving bowl, add the bread, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, fresh basil, salt, and pepper and mix well.


Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Add the vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil when, fork at hand, you are ready to attack your dish, not 1 minute before then!