Thursday, August 12, 2021

Panzanella with Mozzarella Salad

“The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus.  A year of change is ahead.  Travis is a senior in high school.  Elizabeth and Andrew will start driving.  The woman who cuts my hair even convinced me to change the way I style it.  I’m trying hard to embrace change.  I’m forever a work in progress. The road of life is unpredictable and the only constant in life is change, but if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.  

Summer, summer, summer and all its fresh bounty.  Mix it all together and you can make this panzanella salad.  There are so many variations of what you can include – the basics are tomatoes, bread, cucumbers, red onion, herbs and a vinegar based dressing.  This recipe from Melissa Clark at NYT Cooking adds in mozzarella.  Plan a few hours ahead as it needs to soak in the dressing.


  • 4 ounces ciabatta or baguette, preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, about half a small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or a combination)
  •  Large pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon 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 tablespoon capers, drained

Heat oven to 425. Toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt and spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until they are dried out and pale golden brown at the edges, about 7 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add mozzarella, onions, garlic paste, 1 tablespoon vinegar, oregano or thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes if using. Toss to coat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, ½ teaspoon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons 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.  If needed, toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar and salt just before serving.   

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