Panzanella

From The North End Italian Cookbook, 5th Ed.

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

8 Slices crusty Italian or French bread, 1-3 days old
1/2 bunch fresh basil, stems removed
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 C olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Cut bread into bite-sized pieces, and put into a large bowl. Sprinkle bread with a little cold water to dampen.

2. Cut the basil into thin strips (aka chiffonade)

3. Add the tomatoes and their juice, sliced cucumber, and basil to the bread in the bowl, and toss well. Salt & pepper to taste.

4. Drizzle the olive oil over the salad until glistening but not soaked; add vinegar and toss well. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

5. Decorate with sliced onion & chopped parsley. Allow the salad to sit for at least 1 hour, for the flavors to meld. May be served chilled or at room temperature.

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