Our panzanella bread and avocado salad is one of my new favorites. Unlike a traditional bread salad, I add arugula and torn basil so it is less heavy. For a lunch or dinner, just add a piece of grilled salmon, steak or chicken and you have a complete meal. I use Wisconsin made Parmesan cheese for a final garnish. We also use a wonderful basil flavored olive oil that we purchase from The Oilerie in Fish Creek. If you aren’t around Door County, they do have an on line shop. Click here to learn about the Oilerie products.
- 3 cups of 3/4 inch cubes Italian, French or ciabatta bread
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil approximately
For the salad
- 2 vine ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 green onions, cleaned and cut on a diagonal
- 2 tablespoons capers, optional
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
- substitute red wine vinegar if you
- don’t have sherry wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 or 2 ripe but still slightly firm avocados, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly torn
- 1 1/2 cup baby organic arugula
- a small wedge of Parmesan cheese to shred over final salad
To prepare the salad
Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Add the diced cucumber, diced red onion and chopped green onion. If desired, add the capers. Set aside .
Place the bread cubes in the bowl with the onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.
To make the vinaigrette
Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If too tart, add more olive oil. If not tart enough, add a little more sherry wine vinegar.
Drizzle enough vinaigrette on the bread vegetable mix to just coat. Extra vinaigrette can be kept in the refrigerate for up to one week.
Add the arugula to the salad. Add the roughly torn basil. Put some freshly shredded Parmesan cheese on the salad and carefully toss.
Divide the salad on your serving plates or serve in a large bowl for a buffet. You can have most of the ingredients ready several hours ahead except the avocado and the torn basil. The avocado and basil should not be cut (or torn) until just before serving as they will discolor.