Cornbread Panzanella

5.0
(2)

Summer's favorite bread-and-tomato salad gets a sweet makeover.

Cornbread Panzanella
Photo: Greg DuPree
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
Servings:
4

Panzanella, the refreshing and crave-worthy Italian bread salad of summer, is here with a twist. Golden cornbread croutons are tossed with the classic ingredients, plus a few extras, to add sweetness and crunch. A mix of juicy heirloom and cherry tomatoes, zippy red onion, and crisp cucumber mingle with unexpected chunks of avocado for a touch of creaminess, plus bite-sized mozzarella balls for richness. The juices drawn from salting the tomatoes become the base for a lively tomato and vinegar dressing, a genius way to impart even more flavor to this simple salad. Shortcut alert: Pick up a pan of cornbread from the supermarket bakery. Day-old bread will get even crunchier and absorb even more flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed (3/4-in. pieces) day-old cornbread (8 oz.)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tsp.)

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • .50 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. ciliegine (small mozzarella balls), drained

  • 1 medium English cucumber, chopped (about 2 cups)

  • ¾ cup chopped red onion

  • .50 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

  • 1 avocado, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cornbread on a baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a colander set over a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Let drain for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Whisk garlic, vinegar, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into tomato juice in bowl. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

  4. Add tomatoes, mozzarella, cucumber, onion, and basil to dressing, tossing to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Before serving, gently fold in cornbread and avocado. Top with more basil and pepper.

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