Thursday, August 26, 2010

Farewell To Summer (Tomato Panzanella Salad)

Tomato Bread Ingredients for Panzanella Salad

With Labor Day just around the corner and my first classes in 3 years (!!!) starting in a week, I could no longer keep the wool over my eyes. Summer was slipping away, and fall would come a knockin' at any moment. Ever the foodie, my first thought was to gorge on as much abundant summer produce as I could get my hands on before it's all swept off with the fallen leaves.

Not that I don't love pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Citrus fruit and apple pies. Hearty soups and creamy casseroles. And believe it or not, I even enjoy the taste of the stalwart cabbage once in a while. But none of that compares to biting into a ripe and flavorful summer tomato. So I made it a point to enjoy a lot of tomato salads. Simply sliced, sometimes with a sprinkling of fresh mint and salty feta. Other times with only a spoonful of sugar the way my mom used to serve it. Delicious either way.

Panzanella (Bread Salad)

Then for the times I craved something with more substance, I found this delightful panzanella salad. Toasted chunks of bread absorb every bit of delicious juice released by the tomatoes. A dollop of creamy ricotta adds just the right amount of richness. Fast, fresh, and flavorful -- this is precisely the type of summer meal I'll miss when the weather turns. But I won't get too down. After all, there'll be plenty of fall bounty to keep me occupied for months yet!

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta [Printable Recipe]
Slightly adapted from Everyday Food Volume 74
Serves 4

1/2 pound day-old crusty bread, cut or torn into 1 inch pieces
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Course salt and ground pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large
15 ounces ricotta cheese (or fresh mozzarella if preferred)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread bread in a single layer and bake until dry and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add toasted bread and basil, toss to combine. Let sit 20 - 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid. Top with dollops of ricotta and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


  1. I love this bread salad! You have made this salad so pretty and cheerful.


  2. Yes!! Finally it's here! I've been waiting on this for days. XD


  3. What a great way to make full use of the summer produce. Your salad looks cheery and delicious :)

  4. yum!!

    And I know it's sad for you to say goodbye to summer. But hey, it's coming to me! Let's share the love :D

  5. A beautiful farewell to summer! That Panzanella must be delicious.



  6. This looks delicious; we used have tomato slices with sugar as kids... beautiful pictures as usual.

  7. Given my current obsession with heirloom tomatoes. And this fresh local ricotta that I've just found. I really need this. Really. As in can't-live-without-it.

  8. Gorgeous salad. It's funny to read that you are savouring the last of the summer produce and here we are down under itching to get away from apples and pears and cabbage :)

  9. Angie - thanks! that was my intention :)

    Crystal - aw I had no idea or I woulda put it up sooner :). nice to see you outside Flickr!

    noobcook - thank you. milking the summer produce for all i can while it's here yep~

    Anh - aw you have a great point. sending good summery vibes your way :).

    Rosa - thanks, my bf's mom and I really enjoyed it.

    ? - yay I'm so glad we weren't the only ones who served it that way. it is technically a fruit, after all.

    Joanne - I do think you'll quite enjoy this! Please let me know how you like it if you try it :).

    Shaz - haha it is interesting reading each others' blog posts from different hemispheres/seasons, isn't it?

  10. I'll be trying this soon, when summer hits my door. :)
    Beautiful, colorful, fresh - perfect!

  11. I'm not ready for Fall yet!! I can imagine you're holding on to summer food. I'm binging on summer fruits today.

  12. Summer is over? No no no no no....sorry, trying to get over this point.

    I want to eat tomatoes everyday to remind myself of summer :P

  13. It even feels like Fall here today, so I'm totally with you on enjoying every bit of what's left of Summer. I just picked up some tomatoes from the farmers market and this sounds like a delicious way to use them.

  14. How funny, I've also been trying to gorge on fresh summer produce! This salad looks like the perfect way to do it -- love the ricotta on top!

  15. juice-soaked cubes of bread = awesome. great summer salad!

  16. Say it isn't so!!! I need to just enjoy tomatoe season instead of fearing for the end of it as soon as it begins! Only since I started buying strictly what's in season instead of veggies imported from halfway across the globe.
    I love this recipe. Great spin on caprese salad!

  17. WOW! What a beautiful salad and beautiful clicks ;D I love it!

  18. This looks good!! Somehow your salad reminds me a bit of the salad I just made ;)! What a coincidence :).

  19. your pictures looks amazing ;) can't wait to try it!!

  20. Well I'm definitely not ready to bid summer adeu just yet, so I'll think of this tempting recipe more as a celebration of the season. ;) Looks fantastic!

  21. I wanted to tell you that in my two recent posts on my blog I have passed down an "Happy 101 Award" button to 10 blogs that make me happy and I have also passed down another award button to 10 blogs. You were in both of those list and I just wanted to let you know.

    Here are the link to both posts:

  22. A great way to say goodbye to summer! It's funny how you are just saying good bye to summer and here in Australia we're just about to start it! I think the salad's great way to welcome the season too.

  23. Patricia - Thanks! So glad the warm weather is coming to you :).

    Danielle - Mmm that should be my next priority!

    tigerfish - Hehe glad to see someone else has the same instinct.

    Michelle - I only had regular store tomatoes for this salad, but I bet local or even heirloom tomatoes would make it even tastier!

    Faith - Thanks! I was iffy about the ricotta, but it really provides a nice creamy counterpoint to the rest of the salad.

    grace - XD.

    Healthy Mamma - You're right. I didn't mean to instill fear. Just awareness and appreciation of the wonderful veggies we have now :).

    Anncoo - Thanks and thanks!

    Cooking Gallery - I hoped over and left a comment on your post. You're right, our salads are similar :).

    Just Cake girl - Thanks for the sweet comment!

    Hannah - Yes, a celebration...I like that!

    LittleMissBaker - Thank you so much. I'm so flattered. Checking out your blog and those other lovely ones you featured.

    Trissa - Definitely a great way to celebrate tomatoes either at the beginning or end of the season. You're the second one to point out that the summer is leaving us and going to you. There's a beautiful sense of completeness in hearing that.

  24. YUM! I love recipes to use up day-old bread, because we're constantly getting a nice loaf of something to eat with dinner, but then only eating half of it...and the freshly baked country-type loaves just don't keep too well! This looks like a great solution...super delicious!

  25. Your photography is gorgeous and I just love panzanella salad. I'm trying to take advantage of all the last minute veggies growing my garden- none can go to waste!!

  26. OMG, the colours are amazing! The salad is so pretty, and I love the way you styled it ... like a magazine shot!

  27. I love the colours and the combinations!

  28. One of the advantages of living in a land of perpetual summers. I can eat tomatoes all year long:-)Even so they are still something special around here as is your salad.

  29. Oh no, please don't remind me that summer is over?

    Love panzanella, such a simple and delicious recipe.

  30. I couldn't agree more on your love for tomatoes, I could eat them everyday of the year. Great recipe and beautiful photos.

  31. One of my favorite salads, for sure! I love it so. Enjoy the last bits of summer. We can indulge in squash together a bit later....

  32. I'm kinda sad to say bye for this summer. I have had good yields of lemon basil, cayenne pepper and turmeric leaves.

    Love you salad colour! I feel like I want to lick this monitor LOL

  33. Yum! This is one of my favourite salads :) It's one of those salads that really feels like a complete meal too :)

  34. Perfect summer tomatoes are one of the best things. I love the dollop of ricotta on top! Good luck with the beginning of your school year! What are you going to school for?

  35. Sara - I often have the same problem and HATE food waste. Glad we can both use this recipe to solve our leftover bread dilemma :).

    Koko - thanks, girl! you're lucky to have garden veggies. so jealous hehe.

    Ju - aw *blush* XD.

    Leemei - thanks!

    WizzyTheStick - wow that sounds amazing. can I come visit? ;p

    elra - oops, i meant to say this salad is a celebration of the Beginning of summer haha.

    Spicie Foodie - thanks! it's hard not to love these juicy flavorful fruits in disguise :).

    Robin - yes, I'm very excited about the squash!

    Pepy - LOL you really made me crack up with that one. Glad you had such a great growing season!

    Lorraine - I totally agree. I usually need some tuna or nuts to make a salad satisfying, but the bread and cheese work great here.

    eatme_delicious - thanks! I'm just taking prerequisites like organic chemistry (which is gonna kick my ass) for now but eventually want to get a masters in nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian.

  36. Gorgeous photo and plating. Thumbs up!!

    Sawadee from bangkok,


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu