The homemade herb-and-Dijon vinaigrette makes this panzanella the best-dressed salad of the summer.
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning or dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cups olive oil
For the panzanella salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces crusty bread (ciabatta, sourdough baguette, Tuscan loaf), cut into 1″ cubes, about 8 cups
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes (red and yellow make a nice color combination), about 2 cups. Cut some of the tomatoes in half.
- 1/2 bunch Italian flat parsley, thick stems removed and then roughly chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, garlic, oregano, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until smooth. Or, mix all the ingredients in a jar with a lid (for instance, a Mason jar) and shake well.
For the panzanella salad: Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium/high heat; add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil; once hot, add in the bread and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Stir the bread for 5-6 minutes, until lightly browned and toasted on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and red onion.
Pour half of the vinaigrette over the vegetables, stir to combine. Add the feta and bread cubes to the vegetables and drizzle the rest of the dressing over the bread. Toss lightly to combine.
Set aside for 20 minutes for the flavors to blend. Toss again before serving.