Ah, the dog days of summer and what better way to enjoy it than with a Panzanella Salad with Pancetta, Tomato and Basil ! Currently, I’m lounging around in a cabin in the cool temps of the mountains with Mr. M. and P. (meat and potatoes). A short drive to a mountain lake is a wonderful way to escape the 100 degrees where we live (it’s 75 degrees up here!). Going to the beach is an extremely popular activity in the Carolina’s . . . insanely popular, in fact. So many people bee-line to the ocean, that my husband and I avoid the beach and the traffic that goes along with it from June through August!
This month it’s time for many of us to prepare some tasty dishes to pack up in our baskets and into the backs of our cars and head for either the beach of a beautiful lake.
For me, a picnic dish needs to be super easy and portable. So I selected a recipe that gets better by the minute through the marinating of it’s ingredients. A salad of August-ripe, ruby-red, juicy tomatoes, onion, and basil provide the foundation for Panzanella Salad with Pancetta, Tomato, and Basil. Even without the bread, this salad is a super winner in my salad book!
The addition of pancetta was new to me for panzanella, but I assume there are many panzanella creations that include pancetta (Italian bacon). This recipe also differs from traditional panzanella by including lettuce as well.
It’s a really nice addition!
This recipe is just the type of salad in which you can add this or that and make it your own creation!
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups coarsely chopped vine-ripe, red tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 6 pancetta slices (cut about 1/8th" thick), cooked and crumbled
- 1 (8-ounce) loaf day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups torn romaine lettuce
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add tomato, onion, basil, and pancetta; toss well. Set aside.
- Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until toasted; cool.
- Add bread and lettuce to tomato mixture; toss gently to combine.
- Serve immediately.
- **For this salad, I chose to present the salad in a 'layered' manner. The torn romaine lettuce leaves are under the tomato mixture. Then I placed a layer of bread cubes on top of the lettuce. The tomato-basil-garlic-vinaigrette mixture is placed on top of the bread cubes and the pancetta is crumbled on top to finish the salad off.
Enjoy this Panzanella Salad with Pancetta, Tomato and Basil!