Panzanella With Fresh Burrata

Panzanella With Fresh BurrataBreaking Bread
If you like to bake bread, are just learning, or are trying to master a particular technique, chances are you have found yourself with extra bread that goes stale. Fresh, homemade bread is one of life’s great pleasures. But, it doesn’t last very long. So, you either have to eat it all immediately (not a totally awful idea) or find different ways to use it. Throwing all of your hard work away is just not an option.

There are plenty of ways to use stale bread. You can make fantastic croutons for your salad. French Toast is always delicious—depending on the type of bread. Though, I have been known to make French Toast out of anything that will hold its shape after dunking. Also, never underestimate the power of good bread crumbs when making some meatballs.

Now that we are heading into the warmer months where the tomatoes get better and the idea of a big heavy dinner is unappealing, my mind starts to turn towards meals that are light, don’t require heat to prepare them and still have a lot of flavor. And, if they use up any ingredients like say, stale bread, then so much the better. Panzanella is one of those options.

Panzanella is a classic Italian bread salad that comes in many iterations. I recently found the recipe below and my family is excited about it. Good tomatoes are the key to this recipe. So look for the best ones you can find.

Panzanella With Fresh Burrata Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from Tuesday Night Mediterranean by Christopher Kimball

1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 small red onion
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
8 ounces crusty white bread
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
8 ounces fresh burrata cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup lightly-packed fresh basil
1/2 cup lightly-packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Prep the ingredients
Core the tomatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Thinly slice the red onion. Slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick strips and tear into bite-sized pieces. (You should have about 8 cups of bread.) Zest the lemon. Remove the leaves from the basil and parsley stems.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and set it aside. In a small bowl, stir together the red onion, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and set it aside.

Toast the bread
Set a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Toss the bread with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is crisp and light golden brown (about 4 to 8 minutes). Immediately transfer the bread to the bowl with the tomatoes. Toss to mix. Allow the bread and tomato mixture to stand for 10 minutes.

Prep the burrata
Meanwhile, using your hands, tear the burrata into bite-size chunks and add them to a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Assemble the salad
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the onion to the tomato-bread mixture, reserving the vinegar. Add the parsley and basil, then toss. Taste and season with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar, if needed.

Transfer to a serving dish, then top with the cheese and a generous drizzle of oil.

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