Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tuna Panzanella

Panzanella is a classic Tuscan dish -- an excellent way to use up old bread. It's a perfect dish for summer when the tomatoes and basil are at their best. This dish is based on quite a few different recipes I've seen, so feel free to play with the recipe to suit your tastes.

Tuna Panzanella (serves 4 as a main dish)

12-16 oz good bread, cubed (I'm using a couple small loaves of French-style bread from last week)
2-4T olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
several ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 sm onion, sliced thin (traditionally red but use what you have)
1-2 t capers
bunch of fresh basil, chopped
6 oz tuna (I prefer water packed)
1/2 c vinaigrette (I used the Dijon vinaigrette recipe that follows)

Other good add ins: cucumber, olives, fresh mozzarella, cannelini beans, proscuitto/salami

  1. Mix the cubed bread, olive oil, and garlic. Toast in the oven until crisp on the outside.
  2. Mix bread cubes with remaining ingredients. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Adjust seasoning.

Dijon Vinaigrette

1 t Dijon mustard
zest & juice of 1/2 lemon (~1/2 t zest + 1 T lemon juice)
2 T apple cider vinegar
2-4T olive oil

My favorite way to make vinaigrettes is to put all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. You can also lighten vinaigrette dressings by substituting plain water for up to half of the oil.

The Verdict: A+
This was really great. The bread had a lovely garlic-y (but not too much) flavor. The lemon-dijon vinaigrette was a perfect accent to the tuna without being overwhelmingly lemony. My tomatoes weren't even all that fabulous but they worked out just fine and the basil really made them taste fresh. Loved it!

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