A delicious use for stale bread

Most of the time I consider myself pretty well informed in the culinary arts and different ethnic and cultural foods. Last night though, I was introduced to a delicious (new to me) creation called Panzanella thanks to my dear friends Jennifer and Ryan. Being that it originated in Italy, I was quite surprised I’d never tried this before.

According to my research online, Panzanella is a Florentine salad that always includes bread and tomatoes, plus vegetables from the garden, including peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Other additions include garlic, capers, black olives, basil and anchovies (though my hosts thankfully left this ingredient out as far as I know). The (fresh) bread was toasted in olive oil and tossed with salt to give it a little crunch, and all the ingredients were tossed together in a simple vinaigrette dressing.  The combination is nothing short of delightful, and could easily be considered a full meal rather than just a salad.

Historically, Panzanella was an invention of necessity as Italian cooks waste nothing, and this salad was seen as a good way to utilize stale bread and vegetables from the garden. So the next time you have some day old bread lying around the house, maybe you should attempt a Panzanella. Am I the only person who’s never tried this delicious recipe before?

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