The best combination of two of our favorite “heirlooms”: tomatoes and beans! We’ve loved panzanella ever since we discovered this pure genius of a salad. Characterized by cubed bread that is tossed together with a salty vinaigrette made from tomato juices, the salad is at its peak when the bread is partially soggy. Our version features hearty Ayocote Blanco beans, which marinate in the vinaigrette before serving (and soak up a ton of flavor in the process).
Traditional panzanella calls for day-old bread, but if you didn’t have the foresight to buy or make bread yesterday (like us!), you can expedite the “staling” process by following the instructions in the recipe. Consider this the ultimate warm-weather salad to showcase that beans are the perfect accomplice for summer’s most beloved produce.
Which beans to use? Ayocote Blanco
- Serves: 4
- Time: 40 minutes (plus bean cooking)
- Cookware: colander, large bowl, rimmed baking sheet
What you'll need
- 1-¼ pounds ripe juicy tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tsp coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- Ciabatta or baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes so you have about 3 cups
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tbsp of your best sherry or red wine vinegar, plus more for seasoning
- ½ small shallot, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-½ cups of strained beans from a batch of beans (cooked according to our guide)
- ⅓ cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
Draw out tomato juices: Place tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Season with 1 tsp salt and toss to coat. Set aside to draw out the juices for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Toast the bread: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread in a single layer and bake for about 15 minutes, until hardened and golden, but not browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Prepare the vinaigrette and marinate the beans: Set aside colander with tomatoes, and in the bowl with tomato juices, add vinegar, shallot, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 4 tbsp olive oil, whisky vigorously until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in strained beans and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, toasted bread, and beans in the vinaigrette. Toss everything to coat and season with salt and pepper. Let rest at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally until the dressing is absorbed by the bread. Just before serving, toss in basil leaves and drizzle with more olive oil and vinegar if desired.
We image this with...
Your favorite fruit spritzer!