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Rainbow Tomato Salad, AKA Panzanella

Friday, 13 Feb 2009
 

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I made this salad last night and ate it as my dinner.  The little chunks of bread and fresh mozzarella make it substantial enough to make a meal of, but still fresh and light.  I think this would make a great starter for a romantic Valentine’s meal.  The bright colors make it a fun, attractive dish. The recipe below makes one large serving.

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Panzanella is an Italian salad made with tomatoes, chunks of rustic bread, basil, olive oil, vinegar, and frequently other ingredients.  I didn’t set out to make Panzanella, but it’s what I ended up with.  I started out with these “gourmet” multi-colored tomatoes, which I cannot resist in the grocery store.  I just added various ingredients to make a salad, and voila, I realized it was Panzanella!  Here’s the recipe I put together:

8-10 small multi-colored tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

1 tablespoon fresh basil, cut in thin strips (chiffonade), plus whole basil leaves for garnish

1/8 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes

2 slices baguette (or other rustic bread), day-old is fine, cut into small cubes

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

freshly ground salt and pepper

Toss together the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and bread.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh basic leaves.

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