Fresh Panzanella Salad

A perfectly balanced side dish with fresh produce.  

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For the Salad

  • Flaky sea salt, for finishing
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite flavorful tomato, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 box of croutons, or homemade if preferred
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 very ripe small tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar


For the dressing:

  1. Stir together shallots and vinegars in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and grate cut sides on a large box grater until just the skins remain. Discard skins.
  3. Set aside 1 cup tomato pulp. (Reserve the rest for another use.)
  4. Stir tomato pulp, oil, basil leaves, smashed garlic, and salt into vinegar mixture. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to meld.
  5. Remove and discard garlic. Taste dressing and adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. Set aside 1 ¼ cups dressing. (Reserve remaining for another use.)

For the salad:

  1. Toss together sliced onion and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside 20 minutes. This will “quick pickle” your onions and help to remove their raw, bitter taste.
  2. Place half of your croutons in a large bowl and toss with ½ cup dressing. Then place bite sized tomatoes on top and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Remove onions from vinegar, saving the vinegar.
  4. Add onions, cucumbers, basil, and remaining croutons to bowl with your tomatoes.
  5. Add vinegar from the onions, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¾ cup of your dressing. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt for finishing (optional). Best enjoyed fresh!