Tomato and Bread Salad (Panzinella)
Panzinella (bread salad) is a favorite side dish with sliced cheeses in Italy. Using both yellow and red tomatoes can make this a festive touch on your plate.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4 as an appetizer or side dish
- 2 cups diced (½-inch) ripe red tomatoes, any variety
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups day-old country bread, cut into ½-inch cubes, air-dried overnight or baked 20 minutes at 325 degrees
- ¼ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
- Black pepper to taste
Dress tomatoes and chopped onion with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Toss gently with dried bread cubes and parsley.
Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Read the Label
“Unlike wine, oil deteriorates,” says chef and cookbook author Paula Wolfert, “The better oils give you the year it was produced.” The shelf life for a really good extra-virgin olive oil is about two years. The label tells you a minimum of one important distinction: Extra Virgin. The International Olive Oil Commission (IOOC) has established that name to indicate that the oil was cold pressed, and that no chemicals were introduced to aid in extraction. It also indicates an acidity of less than 1 percent, which cannot be detected by taste. Oil must be analyzed in a laboratory to ascertain acidity level. “That's really important, because it means that the oil has all of its vitamins in it.”