Panzanella Salad with Champagne Citrus Vinaigrette

Traditionally made with red wine vinegar during the summer months, I like to use winter citrus and additional veggies during colder months in my Panzanella salad. Panzanella has traditionally been a way to use up the hardened ends of leftover bread. If you don’t have time, just toast the cubes in the oven for 15 minutes or so until crunchy, but not completely toasted. Sometimes I grill the bread just for the additional smoky flavor.

You’ll need:

1 large lemon, zested fine and freshly squeezed 

For the Citrus Vinaigrette

1/2 grapefruit, juiced 

1 orange, zested, sectioned and juiced 

1/3 cup champagne vinegar 

4 anchovies, finely chopped 

5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad

1/2 – 1 loaf day-old crusty Italian loaf, Grilled ( optional ) and torn into large bite-size pieces

2 pounds ripe Roma or Heirloom tomatoes , very large dice

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions, sweet onions or shallots 

1 bunch scallions, chopped on a wide diagonal

2 large English cucumbers, halved lengthwise and cut into large dice

2 large red bell peppers, cleaned chopped large dice

2 cups chopped, cooked and chilled Italian green beans 

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces

1 large hand full of your favorite mixed greens ( I like to use baby Arugula)

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how to make it:

For the salad dressing, place all of the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor except the oil. Blend until combined and orange sections are pulverized. Allow to sit about 10-15 minutes. Once flavors have come together begin the processor again. While blending, continuously add the oil in a slow, steady stream until it’s fully incorporated and mixture is emulsified.

For the salad, in a medium bowl toss the tomatoes, onions and cucumber and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat well, then set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetables and the basil and any greens to the bread and mix until evenly combined. Add additional vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature. 

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