Panzanella is Italian for bread salad, a summery dish that often has cucumbers and bell peppers. This one uses roasted zucchini and yellow squash. You can add any seasonal ingredients you desire and use any favorite dressing. This classic red wine vinegar dressing has been our traditional favorite. More fun Italian words: Ciabatta (literally ‘slipper’…the shape of the bread) and Ciliegine (literally, ‘little cherries’, the shape of the mozzarella).
1 long ciabatta bread loaf, or several small ciabatta breads, hollowed out carefully with a knife, trying to keep the inside part intact because you’ll be making croutons with these.
6 roma (or other medium size) tomatoes, quartered, inside cut away with a knife and discarded, outside tomato part cut into large bite size pieces and set aside.
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 oz (2 TB) Bella Sun Luci Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 oz more of the olive oil for the dressing
½ oz more (1 TB) olive oil for the croutons and loaf
1 large green zucchini, quartered lengthwise, center seeds removed by slicing out the center lengthwise.
1 large fancy yellow squash, quartered lengthwise, center seeds removed by slicing out the center lengthwise.
1 small red onion, halved the sliced very thinly into half moons
8 oz ciliegine mozzarella (or any fresh mozzarella in water, cut into large bite size pieces)
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Juice of ¼ lemon
1 teaspoon dijon (or other brown/artisan made) mustard
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste for both the veggie mix and the dressing
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
Cut out the inside of the ciabatta loaf (for croutons) then drizzle it and the loaf with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put all of this on a sheet pan and bake on the top rack.
At the same time, bake the zucchini/yellow squash/mushroom mixture on the bottom rack (cut the seeded zucchini and yellow squash into large bite size pieces…mix with the mushrooms, toss with 2 TB olive oil, salt and pepper and bake 10 minutes).
Set the veggies and croutons/loaf aside separately to cool to room temperature.
While the veggies are roasting, prep the tomatoes and onion, make the dressing by 2 TB olive oil, vinegar, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper, and drain the ciliegine.
When all of this is done, toss everything together well (except the loaf).
Now fill the loaf with your panzanella and serve.
Optional: Fresh herbs, both chopped and tossed into the panzanella, and whole for garnishing/final presentation. Basil (summery) is most traditional. Chives, parsley, thyme, summer savory…all work nicely.