When I first moved to Texas, I distinctly remember waking up at all hours of the night and checking the temperature. It was August and even at 3:00 in the morning, we were at 90°F outside. The low temperatures were in the 90’s!!! The highs were certainly hitting around 110°F. I grew up with hot summers in Kansas but over the last few years I had been living in much colder climates in Western New York and then Colorado. I quickly learned how to cope with the heat though. Here in San Antonio, it is all about pool life with snacks and drinks in hand. There were a lot of antics that first summer. Fence hopping, trivia at a nearby hole in the wall, dancing at clubs downtown, plus lots of sangria and snacks by the pool. Every weekend, my friends and I would hit up the farmer’s market for fresh, healthy ingredients – we would buy whatever produce we could find and then create those pool side snacks from our haul.
This salad would have been the perfect addition to our pool side spreads that summer. The base of a traditional panzanella is lightly toasted pieces of bread with large chunks of tomatoes and not a single leaf of lettuce. The beauty from here is that you can add in subtle or bright flavors to compliment those base ingredients. I wanted to add an extra sweetness to my version so I’ve tossed in peaches – such a classic summer ingredient. Even with the pieces of bread tossed in, this salad is light and refreshing, perfect for those summer days spent by the pool.
- Go ahead and make this salad a few hours in advance. The juices of the tomatoes and peaches will start to soak into the bread (without making it soggy), helping to blend the flavors.
- This salad is the perfect opportunity to use up any tomatoes that might be overripe. The extra juiciness will only add flavor.
Panzanella Summer Salad
- 5 cups rustic multigrain bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 medium, ripe tomatoes of mixed variety, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 ripe peaches, cut in half & sliced thin
- 1/2 small red onion, cut in half and sliced thin
- 10 large basil leaves cut into thin strips
For the salad dressing
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread bread pieces out on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, not browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together toasted bread with
tomatoes, peaches, red onion and basil.
- For the salad dressing, whisk all ingredients in a small
bowl. Drizzle over salad as desired.