Tuscans hate to waste a scrap of bread. Panzanella, a salad that combines vine-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and basil with olive oil and vinegar, is one solution for transforming day-old bread into a delicious meal.
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced1 small red onion, thinly sliced1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil3 tablespoons red wine vinegarSalt and black pepper to taste8 thick slices stale country-style white bread, torn into bite-size pieces
- In a salad bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
- Place half of the bread in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the bread. Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Just before serving, toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. If the bread seems dry, add a little oil or vinegar.
Cook's Note: Feel free to use stale French or Italian bread, sliced thick.