What Happens When You Combine A Panzanella Salad With A Caprese Salad?
It’s August and the best time of the year for fresh local tomatoes in the Philadelphia area so we are always looking for great recipes featuring local produce. I will even go so far to say there are only a couple or three months of year where fresh tomatoes are worth purchasing.
Yes, you can find decent tomatoes shipped in from Florida or California but they don’t have any taste when compared to local (Jersey) tomatoes this time of year.
My wife found this recipe in the WSJ newspaper last year and we have been adapting and recreating it whenever great tomatoes are available. We also like to use fresh Jersey peaches that are in their prime right now.
Caprese Salad vs Panzanella Salad
If you are not familiar with these two salads, caprese salad are prepared with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Panzanella salad is composed of day-old bread combined with fresh tomatoes.
This salad is a combination of the two with the addition of a couple of stone fruits - peaches and plums but nectarines work well too.
Most supermarkets now sell some version of fresh mozzarella either as large egg size balls or smaller versions about the size small plum. It should be soft with a moist texture and lots of milky flavor.
This is not the firm mozzarella balls you find in some supermarkets and used for making pizza.
Caprese and Panzanella Salad Salad Recipe
- 3 cups French or Italian bread roughly cut into small pieces
- 1 olive olive extra virgin + 4 tablespoons
- 1 cup pistachios roasted and shelled, roughly chopped
- 2 lemons juiced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ pounds heirloom tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 ripe peach cut into wedges
- 2 ripe plums cut into wedges
- 10 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 8 basil leaves roughly chopped
- Start by preheating your oven to 375º F to make the croutons.
- Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, spread them out on a baking tray in one layer and bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Reserve.
- To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, honey, pistachios and the remainder of the olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk together to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
- In another bowl, add the tomatoes, peach and plum wedges and toss together.
- Plate - Divide the mozzarella slices on salad plates and season with salt & pepper.
- Add the fruit mixture on top of the cheese and then drizzle the dressing on top.
- Garnish with the chopped basil and croutons and serve immediately.