In the poorest villages in southern Italy, a bread dish called Panzanella was made and served during the long hot summers when nothing was available to eat except stale bread, tomatoes, and basil. This simple recipe stretched the food during lean times. This bread dish gave families something nourishing and completely satisfying, yet still retained the distinctive intense flavor of Italian food.
Panzanella bread appetizer recipes are now being taught by chefs at culinary institutes and served in upscale restaurants, it has evolved beyond the lost heritage of the poor peasants who created it.
makes four servings
one loaf Italian crusty bread, preferably two days old
one half cup extra virgin olive oil
two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
one tablespoon unsalted butter
four peeled and diced garlic cloves
five red ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
one quarter cup high-quality Modena balsamico vinegar
2 cups basil, leaves sliced into 1/4″ slices
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
The oven will need to be preheated to 350°. Cut the Italian bread loaf into small cubes of about a half an inch. Bake the cubed bread in the oven for six to seven minutes until golden brown. In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of olive oil and butter over medium to low heat. After butter melts add minced garlic and sauté for about a minute. Do not allow the garlic to burn. And the brown with bread cubes to the skillet and mix with the garlic.
Using a large bowl place bread cubes tomato cubes and sliced basil. Salt and pepper to individual taste and allow to stand for a few minutes for the flavors to permeate throughout. Serve Panzanella in individual pasta dishes.
[tag] Italian panzanella[/tag]