The Panzanella

This month’s dish is perfect for summer. It is the Panzanella, a food pertaining to Tuscany’s poor cookery, whose origin (probably derived from the peasants’ use of dipping in water the stale bread and of mixing it with vegetables they found in the vegetable garden) and name origin (probably coming from “Pane”[bread] and “Zanella” that means soup plate, soup-tureen?) are both unknown.

for 6 people:
gr. 400 stale bread; 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, 2 red onions (or 4 fresh spring onions), one cucumber, basil, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt.

Cut the bread into slices and soak it in cold water for about 10 minutes. Then squeeze well the slices, break them up reducing them into crumbles and put them in a roomy soup-tureen. Add in the tomatoes, without seeds and cut into slices, the onions cut in thin slices and the cucumber peeled and sliced. Then add the basil leaves, season with salt and some oil and delicately turn all.
Put in the fridge and, at the moment of serving, season again with vinegar and oil.
(Recipe reduced by “Toscana in tavola” – Paolo Petroni).

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