For those of you who have never had a panzanella salad, or even heard of it, you've been missing out! It's a Tuscan bread salad that traditionally includes tomatoes, basil, onions, and an olive oil and vinegar dressing. I've been eyeing up panzanella recipes for months, waiting for the moment when local tomatoes are at their peak. The key to a panzanella salad is the super ripe tomatoes; the ones that are just busting with juice. The semi-stale, or toasted, bread sops up all that goodness and creates a deeply satisfying salad that captures the essence of summer. I added figs to mine because I had them on hand and thought they would look nice.
Tomato and Stone-Fruit Panzanella With Burrata
3 cups torn sourdough, ciabatta or country bread
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1¼ pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges
1 large white peach or nectarine, cut into ½-inch wedges
¼ cup thinly sliced basil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
2 balls burrata (about 1 pound total)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread croutons across a medium baking sheet and toss with 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake croutons, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp on all sides, about 13 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, peaches and basil. Season with salt and let sit to allow flavors to meld, about 10 minutes. Place shallots in a small bowl and cover with ice water. Let shallots crisp, about 8 minutes, then remove them from water. Blot shallots dry and set them aside.
3. Just before serving, toss shallots, croutons, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar with tomato-peach mixture. Season with extra salt and let croutons absorb some of the fruits’ juices, about 5 minutes. Distribute salad among 4 plates and place ½ a ball of burrata on each plate. Season cheese with a pinch of salt and drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve immediately.