The key to this panzanella is frying the bread cubes in loads of olive oil in a skillet, which obviously makes them crispy. But the healthful fat also soaks into the bread cubes and renders them semi-waterproof, or dressing-proof. The same goes for the dusting of Parmesan cheese applied halfway through the crisping process.

Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
10 mins
additional:
40 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
2
Yield:
2 servings
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Ingredients

2
Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Pour bread into a large skillet and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, working in batches if necessary. Cook and stir bread over medium heat, adding more oil as needed, until bread cubes are golden and crispy on the outside, 7 to 12 minutes.

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  • Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of the bread cubes; cook and stir until cheese is melted onto bread, and bread is crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside, 3 to 4 minutes more. Cool completely.

  • Combine tomatoes, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until well-mixed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until flavors combine, about 20 minutes.

  • Toss basil into tomato mixture; add bread cubes and stir. Let salad sit at room temperature 3 to 4 minutes; if the liquid is completely absorbed, add more vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste. Season with salt and black pepper.

Nutrition Facts

746 calories; protein 17.5g; carbohydrates 68.4g; fat 45.8g; cholesterol 8.8mg; sodium 927mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (46)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
09/12/2014
Excellent! I kept the ingredients the same but changed the toasting method of the bread. I placed the olive oil tossed bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for approx. 5 min. Stirred and sprinkled with the Parmesan, then continued to bake until nicely browned. This recipe doesn't disappoint. Read More
(24)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
04/21/2019
The key to this recipe is to taste. I used too much garlic and tried to dilute it with more vinegar. It was ok but the next time I make it I ll have a clue what to taste means for this recipe. Read More
70 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 60
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
09/12/2014
Excellent! I kept the ingredients the same but changed the toasting method of the bread. I placed the olive oil tossed bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for approx. 5 min. Stirred and sprinkled with the Parmesan, then continued to bake until nicely browned. This recipe doesn't disappoint. Read More
(24)
Rating: 5 stars
02/17/2015
Very tasty salad! I've had it before YEARS ago (maybe 30?) & it was as Chef John says a little less pleasant because of the sogginess of the bread. I wonder though if you could use a high quality basalmic vinager instead of red wine vinegar? I purchased some from Italy when I visited my Daughter. It's a 5 year wooden cask cured Basalmic (which I use ONLY on something that it "really" matters on like this salad (the longer it's cured especially in a wooden cask makes it FAR superior to what you get at the grocers. It's expensive but what Heavenly flavor!!! I do confess though I've made croutons this way since I was a girl & my Dad would make his favorite noodle dish croutons parm. cottage cheese and noodles. I have the recipe for "that" dish in my A/R Recipe box again thanks to my friends the "Buzzers" on the A/R site (The Buzz). It's a great resource for all of us on A/R. It's complimentary with membership AND there are a boatload of nice folks on there who can answer almost any question or recipe request you can imagine and seem to love doing so! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
07/26/2015
This recipe looked simple and fun. It was! I made it even easier by using bagged Cheese & Garlic Croutons and hot house tomatoes. Also used fresh basil from my garden and added shrimp that I'd cooked in a garlic red pepper flake olive oil & butter mix. Turned it into a meal rather than a side. My husband went back for seconds! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2015
Huge hit! Thought I would burn the bread. I didn't. The cheese did stick to the bottom of pan and I had to run outside to avoid the smoke detector going off but I actually used the scrapings in the salad and it was yummy. I didn't use any sugar and I only had balsamic vinegar handy so that's what I used. It was really tasty. Thanks once again Chef John for another keeper Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
06/11/2015
Wow! Once again Chef John has come up with a great recipe. I was tempted to bake the bread cubes but I followed the recipe and am I glad I did. This was delicious! The bread was not soggy at all. The only change I made was to add fresh chives. When I went out to pick the basil leaves the chives just called out to me and I couldn't resist. This was wonderful now I can't wait for the grape tomatoes to come in. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
08/29/2016
Excellent! I made it exactly per Chef John's instructions and this tasted so good I had to keep grabbing a piece of bread from the salad as I walked by. This is my first time making Panzanella but it will not be my last. This stuff is so good! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/12/2017
This is the best panzanella salad ever! The hardest part is not eating all of the croutons before you mix them with the tomatoes. I make a bunch of croutons in advance and keep them in the fridge, so I can make this salad any time I want with little effort. It's really important to stick to John's technique - seemingly small things like cutting the tomatoes in half vs. using them whole makes a huge difference. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you, John! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/18/2016
Just WOW!! Totally delicious! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
07/01/2018
I followed the recipe and the results were fantastic! I had leftover salad and was a little reluctant to have it for lunch (afraid it would be soggy) the next day...surprise, it was actually better the next day! Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
04/21/2019
The key to this recipe is to taste. I used too much garlic and tried to dilute it with more vinegar. It was ok but the next time I make it I ll have a clue what to taste means for this recipe. Read More