Panzanella salad with burrata and fresh produce are a natural fit. The salad, a classic from Tuscany is a simple compilation of seasonal vegetables and stale bread, which soaks up the veggie juices along with good quality olive oil and vinegar. SHC prefers using toasted fresh bread since the bread is such a prominent ingredient. It just doesn’t seem logical to eat it in a fresh salad after its prime (save your stale bread for breadcrumbs). The addition of burrata, a richer version of mozzarella thanks to the addition of fresh cream makes it a showstopper.
Breaking with Tradition: Panzanella salad in its original glory was nothing more than a means to use up stale bread and summer tomatoes. What a great jumping off point for a variation on the theme with a few more seasonal ingredients from a local farm stand? SHC likes cucumbers, onions and fresh herbs to round out the veggies. The addition of burrata (as in this recipe), diced mozzarella or Parmesan shavings makes it a bit more interesting and truly memorable.
Making vinaigrette: Homemade vinaigrette couldn’t be simpler to make and so much better than anything bought at the store. In fact you don’t even need a recipe as long as you follow the 2-1 rule: two parts oil to one part acid (lemon juice, vinegar, mustard). Seasoning the vinaigrette with salt and pepper is equally important to balance the flavors and the salt helps coax the juices out of the veggies in the salad.
- 2-3 cups good quality fresh cubed bread (baguette, sourdough)
- 1 seedless English cucumber
- ½ medium purple onion
- 2 medium tomatoes
- Handful fresh basil (or other herb such as dill, tarragon, parsley)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounce ball of burrata cheese, cubed
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Salad: Place cubed bread on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven, about 10 minutes. While bread is toasting, chop cucumber, onion and tomatoes in uniform pieces. Place in a serving bowl along with the chopped herbs and salt. Mix in toasted bread cubes.
- Vinaigrette: Place vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until combined and emulsified. Add salt, a pinch at a time, tasting after each pinch until it tastes right. Add a few cranks of pepper then pour over salad. Add burrata and lightly toss.
Home Cooks Note: Panzanella salad tastes even better after a rest. Chill in the fridge for a few hours so the salt can release the juices in the veggies, which then soaks into the bread.