Summer Panzanella Salad

Summer Panzanella Salad

Like many Italian recipes, this is not a technically difficult recipe, but does depend on the best, very freshest ingredients – straight out of the garden. It’s cheap and easy, very healthy and fast, and can be changed to suit your taste. Italians also say its colors represent their flag (red, white & green), so it’s patriotic to eat this salad.

This salad is great with lightly grilled or poached meat or fish, some cold cuts or cheese, hummus, white beans or, all by itself. You can also add some sliced chile peppers to spice up the salad or some sweet peppers.

Ingredients
* Tomatoes cut into bit sized pieces or cubes
* Cucumbers peeled & seeded, cut into bite sized pieces
* Red Onions, sliced
* Toasted Bread (or day old), baguettes, cut into bite sized cubes
* Dress with: Olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar, lightly salt, add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with Basil leaves.

Preparation
Take equal amounts of Tomatoes, Cucumbers, sliced Onions and Bread and mix together in a bowl, add some Basil leaves. Toss with olive oil & vinegar (just enough to coat the vegetables and soften the bread slightly), then sprinkle with salt & pepper and let it sit for a few minutes to let the ingredients “marry”, or mix the tastes together.

Then taste again, and see if more salt, pepper, oil or vinegar is needed – but do not add too much. The vegetables will continue to give up their juices, and you want to taste the fresh vegetables mainly. If you don’t want to add more salt, add a pinch of sugar or honey and it will bring up the salty tastes more. Both savory & sweet, crunchy & soft, this salad has wonderful balanced flavors, and the olive oil gives it a hint of richness.