Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad)
For the Salad:
½ loaf day-old Italian bread, torn into large pieces (Note: You can also use fresh bread, just cube and bake in a 325 oven for 15 minutes).
1 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 English cucumber, deseeded and halved lengthwise, cut into large dice
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch pieces
Salt and pepper
For the Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the bread in a large bowl, then add the vegetables, mozzarella cheese and the basil to the bread and mix until evenly combined.
For the vinaigrette, place all ingredients except the oil in a medium bowl, stir to combine, then while whisking continuously, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until it’s fully incorporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Add vinaigrette to salad and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, and then serve at room temperature.