Recipes   /   Panzanella – Stale Bread Summer Salad

Panzanella – Stale Bread Summer Salad

Jul 4, 2010 by Gabriele Corcos


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. Therefore, they save their bread. So they bake it once a week and when it’s stale they make panzanella.

Serves: 6  / Prep Time: 60 minutes  / Inactive Prep Time: 45 minutes

  • 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

1Add the stale bread to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the bread soak for 45 minutes.

2Remove the bread from the water and discard the water. With your hands squeeze it dry, removing the excess water, while breaking into big crumbs.

3In a serving bowl, add the bread, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, fresh basil, salt, and pepper and mix well.

4Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

5Add the vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil when, fork at hand, you are ready to attack your dish, not 1 minute before then!

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