As the temperatures rise my overall time spent cooking in the kitchen decreases. I gravitate towards dishes that require little prep but pack plenty of bold flavor. Good thing summer produce is just as delicious raw! This panzanella is essentially a salad with big chunks of stale bread. The longer the salad sits the more the bread soaks up the juices of the veggies.
3 cups cubed bread
3 cups chopped summer veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers
1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil and mint are particularly delicious)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil + more for making the croutons
Salt & pepper to taste
To dry out the bread without turning on your oven, spread the cubes onto a baking sheet and leave them out overnight. Alternately, you can toast the bread cubes with a drizzle of olive oil in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so until they begin to dry out.
To assemble the salad, toss the bread with the veggies, herbs, lemon juice, a tbsp. of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. The longer the salad sits the more liquid the bread will absorb so keep that in mind when preparing and serving. Makes 4-6 servings.