With the weather warming up and the produce in peak season, it’s no wonder the month of May is National Salad Month. The sunshine-filled summer days allows a little more breathing room for lighter and refreshing meals with none as popular to dine on than salads. But when we say salad, we’re not thinking of your typical traditional green salad, not when there are so many different fruits, vegetables and protein combinations to enjoy. Salads can be quite the nutritional powerhouse such as with this Chickpea and Grape Salad, Kale and Farro Salad or Citrus and Beet Salad. You can even put your own spin on salads in a fun and unconventional way like with our Kool Cabbage™ Wedge Salad or Spiralizer Summer Salad. However, since we’re entering outdoor party season this month, we’re celebrating this tasty food holiday with a traditional Panzanella Salad. Panzanella is a classic Italian recipe that takes the fresh flavors of heirloom tomatoes and basil and combines it with hearty bread for a delicious summery picnic-style dish. The different colors of the heirloom tomatoes give this dish great color while the crusty bread soaks up all of its fresh juices and flavors.
One of the first things you’ll notice about heirloom tomatoes are that they look nothing like regular tomatoes. Their asymmetrical shapes and deep, vibrant coloring make them stand out from the typical red, ripe tomato you’d find at your local supermarket. They come in many different sizes and get their unique characteristics from special breeding that’s been passed down from previous generations. They can range from bright, striped yellow to dark maroon to lightly blushed orange and much more. Not only do heirloom tomatoes include a wide range of colors but also flavors from sweet and succulent to rich and smokey. Melissa’s special selection of heirloom tomatoes may include popular varieties such as Brandywine, Evergreen, Zebra and Jubilee. We love these gorgeous fruits paired with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil, topped onto a simple Heirloom Tomato Toast or tossed together with noodles and garlic.
Yields: 10 to 12 servings
- 2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 package of baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
- 6 cups of 1-day old French bread or ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 bunch of basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground
1. In a large pan, heat up the olive oil. Toss in the bread and salt and brown for around 8 to 10 minutes.
2. While the bread is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl or mason jar, mix together all of the ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the heirloom tomatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes and basil. Add the bread and vinaigrette and toss together, making sure all of the ingredients are coated.
4. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Allow for the salad to sit for at least half an hour before serving.