Panzanella with Mozzarella & Herbs
Soup and Salads
If you like an easy salad and one that you can make a meal out of, look no further than this panzanella salad. It came out delicious.
4 ounces ciabatta or baguette, preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
¾ tsp. kosher sea salt, more to taste
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, mix of variety and colors
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup thinly sliced red onion (about ½ small onion)
2 garlic cloves, grated to paste
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, more to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or combination)
Large pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
Black pepper to taste
½ cup thinly sliced Persian or Kirby cucumber (about 1 small cucumber)
½ cup torn basil leaves
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. capers, drained
Heat oven to 425°. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tbsp. oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until they are dried out and pale golden brown at the edges, about 7-15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add mozzarella, onions, garlic paste, 1 tbsp. vinegar, oregano or thyme, ¼ tsp. salt, and the red pepper flakes if using. Toss to coat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 tbsp. vinegar, the mustard, ¼ tsp. salt, and some black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining 4 tbsp. olive oil until the mixture is thickened. Stir in cucumbers, basil, and parsley.
Add bread cubes, cucumber mixture and capers to the tomatoes and toss well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving. Toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar, and salt if needed just before serving.