Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that is usually made with stale bread (like you’d use to make bread crumbs of bread pudding). The recipe combines seasonal ingredients into one salad that, in my opinion, has it all.
Instead of using stale bread, we grilled French bread on the Hamilton Beach® Indoor Searing Grill before tossing it with the rest of the ingredients. With the Indoor Searing Grill, you can enjoy outdoor grilled flavor anytime you want, regardless of the weather. Grill the bread for about 5 minutes on each side, until it’s slightly charred, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
After your bread is grilled, all that’s left is assembling your panzanella salad. Mix bread pieces with ripe cherry tomatoes, onion, basil, and bleu cheese (feta or mozzarella would be delicious in this as well) then top with a simple, classic Italian dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In my (Italian) family, that’s the only salad dressing that exists. Add salt and pepper to taste and there you have it - a no frills panzanella that showcases the best of the season.
We used plump red tomatoes and from-the-garden basil (one of my favorite summer flavors) to take advantage of seasonal ingredients, but panzanella is just as good with store-bought ingredients. The tangy balsamic vinegar soaks into the bread giving it tons of flavor while the cherry tomatoes add just the right amount of sweetness. Serve this grilled bread salad alongside fish for a light summer supper or enjoy it alone for a simple 10-minute meal.