As you all know, I absolutely LOVE trying out new things. I also love to try different food combinations that may even seem a little “out there” to some. Those are actually the most fun to experiment with. Being adventurous and bold, both in and out of the kitchen, is what makes life interesting and spices things up. With this recipe, I love all the individual components of the salad, but I never put them together as a salad before. I am so glad I did though. I wasn’t sure how my husband would like this bread and pepper salad, but to my pleasant surprise, he really liked it a lot. He is a pretty adventurous eater as well, luckily for me. This easy-peasy salad may just make it into our regular side salad rotation and just may become one of our new favorites. This bread and pepper salad is Italian in origin, and is known as a panzanella salad. Panzanella is very versatile. All you need to really make this salad is roasted or grilled vegetables of your choice, any type of crusty bread that is rich in texture, and something juicy and/or saucy to soak up the bread. Making a panzanella salad is not only very tasty and rich in texture, but it is also a really good way to use up old bread as well. As with most things, there is no right or wrong way to make this versatile salad. Just make it by using what you like and what you have. Throughout the ages, more so than not, most recipes come from using up the ingredients that are on hand at the time, as well as what was readily available in local areas. For me, when I cook by just using what I have on hand, especially if it turns out really good, the hard part is remembering exactly what ingredients I actually used to make sure I can repeat it again.
I roasted everything together in the oven, but if your prefer to grill it, that’s fine too. Grilling everything adds to the flavors of the ingredients, but it was raining outside, and I did not want to use the grill, so I chose the oven instead.
Panzanella Salad with Peppers and Onions
1/4 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, cut into large cubes about 1×1″ in size
1 each red and green pepper, cut about 1″ in size
1-2 small red onions, cut about 1″ in size
1 small eggplant, cut into cubes about 1″ in size – optional
6 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tsp paprika
2 TBSP green onions, sliced thin
salt & pepper to taste
I mixed everything together, except the green onions and roasted it in the oven at 375* F for 10 minutes, then stirred it up and continued roasting it for another 10 minutes, or until all the bread was golden brown and crusty. After removing the baking sheet from the oven, add just a bit more sherry vinegar and sprinkled the green onions on top. This salad is best served either warm or at room temperature.
If you choose to make this a grilled salad instead of roasting everything together, grill the peppers whole and the onions and eggplant in very large, thick slices, and then cut them to your desired size. Same with the bread. Grill it in thick slices, and after it is cooked, then cut it. Once everything is cooked, then toss it all together with the remaining ingredients.
I added green peppers too, but the green peppers and eggplant were both an after thought, hence, they are not featured in my picture with the ingredients.
Mangia and enjoy! A delicious panzanella or bread salad.