This tomato panzanella salad is a simple, classic Italian salad. It’s a mix of delicious, ripe, late summer tomatoes and day old bread- the bread needs to be on the dry side to soak up all the tomato juices. Since bread is the main ingredient, and Italian bread is good, I recommend using an artisan loaf for this. It can be whole wheat, sourdough, miche, or a country style hearth bread, just something good. The same goes for the tomatoes. Indulge in this salad when field and sweet heirloom tomatoes are at their best.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small bowl cover the sliced shallots with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain.
3. Dice the whole wheat bread into ½-inch pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the whole garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking tray and toast in the oven, turning occasionally, until slightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the garlic from the skins and chop into a paste.
4. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, juice and salt and pepper. Stir in the olives, basil, tomatoes and garlic paste.
5. Just before serving, toss the tomato mixture with the toasted bread and arugula. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
Toasting the bread in the oven in step 3 is also a great way to make low fat croutons.
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