Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad
Enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes in this simple Panzanella recipe, a popular bread salad from central Italy. It's made with chunks of ripe Roma tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, fresh basil, a dash of salt, and crispy cubes of toasted bread.
Garlic Herb Butter
- 1 head fresh garlic
- ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Butter, softened; or Challenge Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1½ teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme
- 4 Tablespoons Garlic Herb butter recipe, at spreadable temperature
- 8 ounces (about 4 slices) sliced Italian or sourdough bread
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 2½ pounds Roma tomatoes (8 medium sized), cut into large cubes or wedges (about 6 cups)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (plus additional leaves for garnish)
Garlic Herb Butter
1Slice off the top of garlic head just enough to expose the tips of the cloves. Place trimmed garlic head root side down in a small saucepan (1 quart). Add water to about half the height of the garlic head. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the garlic is very soft. Cool. Squeeze garlic from cloves and mash pulp.
2Combine butter, garlic, ground red pepper, salt, and herbs. Mix using a fork or electric mixer until herbs are evenly distributed. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
1Preheat oven to 350°F.
2Cut a piece of parchment paper slightly larger a 10x15 rimmed baking pan. Butter both sides of the bread slices with Garlic Herb Butter, and place on parchment paper (cut to extend a couple inches past the edges of a 10x15 inch rimmed baking pan). Place parchment with bread cubes in 10x15 inch rimmed baking pan. Stir cubes to distribute evenly in single layer. Bake 15 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (5 cups)
3In a bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Stir in tomatoes, basil and bread cubes. Serve immediately garnished with basil.
!Garlic Herb Butter portion of the recipe is enough for a doubled recipe of croutons. Crispy Buttery Garlic Herb croutons are very tempting and tend to disappear rapidly. Butter a few extra slices of bread to assure there are 5 cups to assemble the salad or to have on hand for other salads or soups.