Recipe: Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad by Executive Chef Charlie Giordano

Panzanella Salad by Executive Chef Charlie Giordano

By Charlie Giordano

I never saw my Sicilian grandmother throw out a scrap of bread or a tomato, and this was one of her favorite recipes for using both. It is a recipe designed for the summer when tomatoes and basil are at their best. There might not be a better partner for a nicely charred steak or a piece of simply grilled fish. The balsamic vinegar and the acid of the tomatoes cut through the fat of a steak and intensifies the sweetness of the meat.

You don’t have to use Roma tomatoes, but that’s what my grandmother grew the most of, as long as the tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness any tomato will work fine. If you have any fresh mozzarella fell free to add some at the end. Grilled shrimp, scallops, left over fish or that last few slices of prosciutto will work beautifully. This is all about using what you have on hand. Day old bread works best for soaking up the sweet juices of the tomatoes. So don’t throw out that half loaf of bread from last night, go to the store, garden or roadside stand and make the quintessential summer salad.

Recipe: Panzanella Salad

Serves: 4    


½ loaf Italian bread (cut into 2″ cubes)

4 cups Roma tomatoes (cut in 1″ cubes)

½ red onion (sliced ¼” thick)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh basil leaves (shredded)

Salt and pepper (to taste)


Cut bread into 2″ cubes the day before.

Mix Bread, Roma tomatoes, red onion and basil in large bowl. Pour in balsamic vinegar, mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour in extra virgin olive oil, mix well. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 144 Calories; 11g Fat (63.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein