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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heirloom Tomato, Fennel & Avocado Panzanella

The lovely people at Public Radio Kitchen just allowed me to "guest-post" this recipe on their site. Click here to check it out!

Panzanella is a salad made with torn up pieces of day-old bread. The dry bread soaks up the vinaigrette and juices from the tomatoes. I used these tasty croutons I just made, but any loaf of good bread would be delicious. Toss the salad a few minutes before you serve it so the bread has a chance to fully soak up all the flavors.

The Hutton ladies were nice enough to invite me over to Munroe tonight for dinner and (don't hate) the Real Housewives reunion show. Bridgit made delicious Moussaka and I said I'd contribute a salad. I had three gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, a bulb of fennel, and those rockin' sourdough croutons in the house so I brought this!

3 heirloom tomatoes
1 bulb fennel
2 cups
torn up, day-old bread or homemade rustic croutons
1 avocado
Zest of a lemon
Juice of a lemon
As much olive oil as lemon juice


1. Cut the fennel bulb away from the shoots and fronds. Slice the bulb into thin strips. Cut the shoots and fronds into small pieces.
2. Cut the tomatoes into wedges, slice the avocado, add the croutons or tear the bread into chunks.
3. Make the vinaigrette: in a mason jar combine the zest (makes a huge difference!) and juice of one lemon. Add an equal amount of olive oil (1 part juice, 1 part oil), and 1 teaspoon salt. Shake!
4. A few minutes before serving toss everything together, including vinaigrette and let it hang out to soak up all the flavors.

I thought this was funny because the fennel bulb looks like a fingerless hand! Just ignore me.


  1. panzanella is a BREAD based dish!!!
    no bread croutons! REAL HARD BREAD.
    sorry but that showed in the pictures is not panzanella. Trust me, I am Tuscan.

  2. Thanks for your feedback. I suppose pan toasting the day-old bread first was my "spin" on a traditional panzanella. I noticed that Giada De Laurentiis grills her bread first. I really loved the crunchy/chewy effect it gave the salad. Thanks for visiting!


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