It’s the dog days of summer, very hot and dry and we are so ready for some cool weather in Austin. Salads are a lovely dinner this time of year with a cold glass of white wine. One of my favorite salads is Panzanella bread salad or Tuscan Bread Salad. This salad uses day old bread and not only helps to stretch a meal but uses up leftover bread. No guilt when you use your leftovers! I like to add chicken to my salad and sometimes shrimp, or the vegetables and bread will do for a wonderful vegetarian meal, side salad or starter.
4 large tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
8 cups stale Italian bread, cut into pieces and dried out
1/2 cup of black Italian olives
1/2 cup of red onion or a 1/2 cup of shallots
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup Italian extra-virgin olive oil
About a 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
2 chicken breasts
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toast the cut up bread in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Grill the chicken breasts and cut into bite size pieces.Mix the tomatoes, bread and onion in a large bowl. Mix the olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl with the garlic. Pour over the tomatoes and bread. Add the grilled chicken or shrimp. Let sit for about 20 minutes then add the basil and olives.
You can also add cucumber, and chunks of mozzarella cheese if you’d like.