The classic Tuscan bread salad called panzanella was traditionally made with old, hard bread. It was soaked in water to soften, then squeezed to a soft pulp. But you get a better texture using fresh or slightly stale bread that's grilled or toasted, rubbed with garlic, and cut into bite-sized cubes.
Very old versions of panzanella were made with just bread, onions, olive oil, and vinegar, with fresh herbs added if they were available. But the Italians embraced the New World tomato quickly, and it’s been an ingredient in panzanella for the last few hundred years.
Like tomatoes, peaches are both sweet and acidic, and they make a very tasty version of panzanella.
For the shopping list
crusty, country-style bread
fresh basil or mint
From our shop
$18 - Sicily - Italy
From the kitchen
Slice 1 red onion very thinly and soak it in 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
Cut the bread into half-inch cubes, the 4 peaches into bite-sized pieces (peeling optional). Tear or slice the basil leaves or mint into thin strips.
Combine everything in a large bowl, add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt (unlike Tuscan bread, ours will add some salt, so taste before adding), and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
This gets better if it sits for 20 minutes, and it's best served at room temperature.