I wanted salad. I didn't have any lettuce. Unlike the time I didn't have any bread but craved garlic bread, this time I was loaded to the gills with bread. So I used it in my salad instead of lettuce.
And then I cried tears of joy.
Turns out bread salad is a real thing. Panzanella, they call it. Who knew? Here I thought I created something out of desperation and it's been here all along. OK, I'm lying. I knew there was such a thing as bread salad, but I never actually thought to try it. It sounded so gross! But when you want something and you are out of a lot of the main ingredients, you try new things.
So thank you, Mr. Panzanella or whoever you are for the awesome invention! Anywho, here's my recipe:
1/2 loaf of yesterday's garlic bread - the crustier the better- cut into cubes
1 large tomato cut the same size as the bread
2-3 tablespoons of diced white onion
2 ounces of diced mozzarella (I prefer fresh mozzarella, but tonight I used a couple string cheese sticks. Hey, Whatever Works right?)
6-7 torn fresh basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare the bread by placing the cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put them into a 250 oven to dry out about 30 minutes - tossing the cubes occassionally. Let them cool about 15 minutes.
Add all the ingredients except the vinegar to a bowl and toss together coating everything thoroughly. Let the mixture sit about half an hour on the counter- not in the fridge. Serve it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serves 1. Oh wait, that's just me. In real life it serves about 5.
To me, it's like eating bruschetta without the mess. The slightly crunchy garlic bread and onions give it a kick while the tomatoes and vinegar give it a sweetness. I love it and hope you do too!