Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Panzanella and Basil Mayonnaise

When the tomatoes are ripe in the garden, it is time to make Panzanella and Basil Mayonnaise. My inspiration for Panzanella comes from Giada (Panzanella : Food Network). Panzanella is basically a tossed salad with bread substituted for lettuce. I changed a few things and you can personalize my version with your favorite salad ingredients. For the bread, I used a ciabatta loaf from Panera Bread but it also works well with other breads. I first saw Basil Mayonnaise in Southern Living and it adds a new dimension to tomato sandwiches.

1 loaf ciabatta
Olive oil
5 large summer tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated with a microplane
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green olives
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup (or 1/2 jar) roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut the ciabatta into 1-inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 425 degree oven until lightly browned. Toss the bread with the chopped tomatoes.

Combine the vinegar, garlic and olive oil in a jar and season with salt and pepper. Pour about 1/2 of the viniagrette over the bread and tomato mixture and toss to coat. Place half the bread mixture in an oblong serving bowl. Top with half of the onions, olives, capers, peppers and basil. Repeat layers and top with grated Parmesan. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serves 8.

Basil Mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup basil leaves
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the basil is finely chopped.


  1. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for stopping by at my garden blog (was that you also at my food blog, Rubber Slippers In Italy?)

    I love panzanella, but am still waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. We had such a late start this spring, so while I'm salivating over everyone else's tomatoes, I'm only staring at mine. Perfect dish for summer!

  2. Susan,
    I LOVED this dish! Thanks again for putting this up! I know I will be making it soon!! It was great to see you and Susan! Retired life suits you well! :-)