Panzanella the Ultimate End of Summer Salad
Prep Time
Cook time
Total time
This will make more croutons than you need for one recipe worth of tomatoes. While the croutons can be made a day ahead, the tomatoes should be cut and dressed around serving time because refrigerating tomatoes changes the texture and makes them mushy.
Serves: 4
  • Croutons
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, or good crusty bakery bread of your choice. Avoid prepackaged sliced mass produced bread, it will not have good texture.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 8 tomatoes, any color and variety that are the best you can get
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup best olive oil
  • ¼ cup packed basil leaves, about one .66 oz package
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice bread into about ½" cubes. Mix oil, butter and garlic in bowl large enough to contain bread cubes. Add bread and toss to coat.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden and crunchy, approximately 30 minutes. Start checking at 20 minutes.
  4. At serving time:
  5. Cut tomatoes into large dice and/or half cherry and grape tomatoes and put into mixing bowl large enough to stir tomatoes in.
  6. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour in oil and vinegar and gently but thoroughly stir to coat tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be well seasoned add salt if necessary.
  8. If you prefer softer croutons, add four large handfuls to bowl, toss/stir gently to combine and let sit for a few minutes.
  9. If you prefer crunchier croutons, portion tomatoes into four bowls and add a large handful of croutons to each bowl.
  10. Sprinkle with a generous amount of basil.
  11. Serve at room temperature with a soup spoon to get all the tasty juices.
Recipe by Chef in the Burbs at