Panzanella Caprese Salad. Playing with two basic recipes, brought me to make this deliciously easy Panzanella Caprese Salad.
We love a good salad and I am always on the lookout for something new to steer me away from my basic “spring greens”. Isn’t cooking all about having fun while trying new things?
What panzanella means?
Stale bread, not fresh or a day old, that is combined with oil, tomatoes, and if you so choose vegetables.
Why is it called Panzanella?
A fresh dish that goes back to the farmers’ and peasants’ habit of soaking stale bread and mixing it with the fresh vegetables from the garden fields.
If you break down the name you will have the combination of two Italian words: “pane” which is the bread, and “zanella” soup bowl. Originally from the region of Tuscany.
What is Panzanella made of?
This dish was traditionally made of stale, dried bread that is rehydrated from the natural juices of fresh tomatoes, vinegar, and of course, olive oil.
You may also want to add diced cucumbers and pitted olives. A great addition to flavor.
Why is it called Caprese?
Named after the island of Capri, Italy, where it is believed to have originated. Fresh mozzarella with fresh tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil and a few grinds of coarse black pepper.
This super easy recipe bursts with flavors that your taste buds will love.
And of course, the cheese is as important as the other ingredients in making this salad.
I selected burrata as it is softer, creamier, and more flavorful. Once you cut into the thick outer casing, which is solid, the soft creamy internal texture will spill over and blend together.
You will be completely in love.
Making this Panzanella Caprese Salad
Only five minutes separates you and this super easy and delicious salad.
I love a good fresh mixed green salad, therefore I used that as a base for this Panzanella salad.
I also added pine nuts. A bit of a crunch with lots of flavors. The pine nuts mixed with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil soften and absorb the flavor which is given back to you into a tender pine nut.
You can either toast them or leave them as they are. Either way, they are delicious with this salad.
Use the freshest and juiciest ripe tomatoes you can find. I slice them as if I were to prepare the Caprese salad.
French baguette or Italian bread is perfect. I did not have stale bread, therefore, I toasted the bread to give it that crunchiness that I wanted to have, yet, leaving the bread soft enough to soak up all the juices.
How to plate it.
Start with the salad on a fresh serving platter or large bowl. Layer the tomato slices in the middle.
Add the burrata, which you will cut in half and ever so gently spread open.
Arrange the bread around the salad on your plate.
scatter the pine nuts over your dish
Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. A couple of grinds of black pepper and salt and you are ready to start eating.
If you have it handy, add a couple of leaves of fresh basil that you gently will be torn apart.
Perfect for lunch, light dinner, or probably just because you crave it. And the ladder would be me, every other day.
A few substitutions:
As you know, Panzanella requires cubed toasted bread. I wanted to have a large piece of sourdough bread to soak up all the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and thus decided to not cut it into bread cubes. However, do not use store-bought croutons, please; not the same at all.
If you do not have balsamic vinegar on hand, you can use regular red wine vinegar. Beware that you will go from a sweet taste to a bitter one.
Butter lettuce can be used in place of the mixed greens
Chopped pistachios instead of pine nuts.
Mozzarella instead of burrata. Although the base flavor is the same, you will not have the creaminess of the burrata. Only replace it with fresh mozzarella cheese, which is still in the water. You may want to slice your mozzarella and add a couple of drizzles of olive oil supplemental.
A chilled glass of Chardonnays or full-body Merlot is the perfect pairing with this light dinner.
If you enjoy this dish, check out these flavorful recipes:
Clean the spring green salad, gently pat dry them, and place it on a plate. Top it with sliced tomatoes.
Add the burrata mozzarella over the tomatoes. Slice it and open, you will see it run over the tomato. Arrange the sliced bread around it.
Sprinkle generously with cracked pepper and salt. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add the pine nuts over it.
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Originally published on February 16, 2018. Updated on June 13, 2022.