Ahhhh summer dayzz are the best! Beach. Pool. Late nights. Barbecues. Picnics. Laughter. Love. FRESH TOMATOES! Oh yes! I said fresssshhhhhh tomatooooeessss! Haha! I might be just a tad bit too excited. But, seriously, look at these tomatoes! They are just beauts. So damn delicious! Whether bought at your local farmer's market or grown in your own garden, there is something about summer tomatoes that makes you just fall in love. So sweet, so tender, so crisp, so juicy...so amazing. I mean if you're one who is not a fan of tomatoes, I beg you please, try them again, only this time fresh out of a garden and during those wonderful "dog days" of summer! Trust me, there is a huge difference from those boring, blain, and bargained tomatoes you find at the grocery store during those out of season months. Once you try them, your mind will be blown away!
Summer tomatoes are delicious just sliced and drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt, butttt this is just kind of boring! Yes, there is always the traditional caprese (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil), greek salad, gazpacho, or fresh tomato pasta sauce that you can do, but what if you're looking for something different? more fun, but still fresh? Well, do we have the recipe for you! It starts with a P and ends in "nella." And it's under an "umbrellaaaa, elllaa, ellla." Sorry, I just had to make that Rihanna reference! Anyways, any guesses?
That's right folks, it's Panzanella!
This zesty dish comes from the beautiful region of Toscana. Much like most of the traditional dishes of Toscana, panzanella was originally considered a poor dish as it characteristically takes use of old, leftover bread. There are several versions that attribute to the birth of this dish. Many believe it was born from the peasant custom of wetting old, dry bread and mixing it together with the vegetables from the garden. Others believe that it originated on board fishing boats. Sailors, at the time, carried only few resources, of which were generally vegetables (tomatoes) and, you've guessed it, old, dry and hard bread. It was said that to make the bread more etible, the saliors would wet it with the sea water.
And to make matters even more complicated, the name of the dish is also subject to much discussion. Some Italians believe the term comes from the union of the words "pan" and "zanella." "Zanella" is derived from the term "zana," of which indicates both a wicker basket where wet bread was dried and/or a tureen, where bread was soaked. Another theory is that the word derived from the expression " zampanella, ” also known as a "borlengo" in Emilia. This is a sort of very thin focaccia which, when it became too hard, was soaked to be eaten again. Well, wherever it came from, I think the name is a great one for describing such a fun dish!
Just from this brief historical summary, I hope you can tell that this dish is pretty hassle free! I mean if sailors can do it, I think you can too! 😉 Anyways, I may have forgotten to mention that Panzanella is indeed a cold dish, making it a perfect lunch on those summer hot days or even as a side dish for that barbecue buffet your having! Super simple, super sweet, super savory, and super summery! And not to mention - the best part - you can use any leftover bread you may have lying around the kitchen. Thus, making it a super saver! Wow... so moving on to the recipe 😁😁
If you have any question regarding this recipe, please feel free to contact us! We would love to help in any way! In the meantime, have a lovely day and remember, eat those tomatoes while summer lasts!