Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad that has origins going back to the farming days of the 1500's, when the farmers would use left-over bread from the night before to make a morning salad for breakfast.
Here is a recipe for the classic Tuscan dish:
Ingredients for Panzanella
9 ounces day-old herb focaccia bread or French bread about 1 1/4 cups or ciabatta
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes
5-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 red bell peppers or yellow bell peppers or orange bell peppers or combination
3 1/2 ounces cucumbers (1 small to medium)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
8 canned anchovy fillets, drained and chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons capers, in brine,rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, about
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, about
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves, to garnish
1. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.
2. Working over a plate to catch any juices, cut the tomatoes into fourths, reserving the juices.
3. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the cores and seeds, then finely chop the flesh.
4. Add to the bread cubes.
5. Drizzle 5 tbls.
6. olive oil over the mixture and toss with your hands, until well coated.
7. Pour in the reserved tomato juice and toss again.
8. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, halve and seed the peppers.
10. Place on a broiler rack, skin side up, and cook under a preheated broiler for 10 minutes, or until the skins are charred and the flesh softened.
11. Place in a plastic bag, seal, and set aside for 20 minutes.
12. Peel off the skins and finely chop the flesh.
13. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 strips lengthwise.
14. Using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the seeds.
15. Dice the cucumber.
16. Add the onion, bell peppers, cucumber, anchovy fillets (if using), and capers to the bread and toss together.
17. Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
18. Drizzle with extra olive oil or vinegar if necessary, but be careful not to let the salad become too oily or soggy.
19. Sprinkle the fresh basil over the salad to garnish and serve immediately.