There is almost no salad so summery as a panzanella. Tuscany’s famed salad featuring leftover bread and juicy tomatoes in a bright and flavorful, garlicky vinaigrette. I love panzanella so much I even made a dessert version for Progressive Eats a couple of years ago. But today, I want you to get to know summer tomato peach panzanella.
Wait? Peaches in a savory salad? It’s really not so strange. Fruit has been used in savory meat preparations for hundreds of years. Peach chutney sings on pork or poultry. Fruity Moroccan tagines rely on a balance of sweet and savory. Mango and tomatoes play nicely together in salsa, so why not let peach’s savory side shine in this salad? No reason not to, right? Plus the savory peach juices mingle with all the other juices to make an incredibly flavorful base for your vinaigrette.
The hardest thing about making this salad is waiting for the vinaigrette to soak into the bread.
Worry not, the salad isn’t soggy. That would be gross. Drying the bread in the oven for 20 minutes or so gives it enough backbone to stand up, even after a few hours.
I wouldn’t try and hold this salad overnight, though, so make this for your Labor Day picnic and share it with a crowd. Toss in all your juicy late summer vegetables and make it your own.
This salad is also vegan if you leave off the fresh mozzarella. If you will be dining with vegans, save out a portion without cheese so everyone can enjoy the fresh burst of late summer flavors.
Holiday Weekend Favorites
- Pineapple Mint Shrub Cocktail from Mother Would Know
- Punjabi Samosa from Spice Roots
- Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Summer Tomato Peach Panzanella from Pastry Chef Online (you’re here!)
- Vanilla Bean Bourbon Plum Bundt Cake from The Redhead Baker
- Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cocoa Icing from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Fresh Blueberry and Lemon Cream Pie from Creative Culinary
Everything sounds so great, right? Our Progressive Eats group is so talented–I hope you try everything!
Summer Tomato Peach Panzanella
Making this summer tomato peach panzanella couldn’t be easier. It’s really more of a method and not a true recipe, so use what you have.
Here’s how to make your own panzanella.
- Choose a lean bread (not enriched with eggs, butter, etc) with a nice open crumb. I used ciabatta, but you can use focaccia or pretty much whatever bread you like.
- Cut or pull it into bite-sized pieces and spread it on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice. No need for it to toast–the bread should be dry but not golden.
- Cut up your summer vegetables (my array was tomatoes, peaches, Vidalia onion, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, and sweet corn which I cooked for a few minutes, just enough to take away that raw corn starch flavor). Place them in a colander over a large bowl and salt them well. I added some Fruit Fresh as well to keep the peaches from discoloring while they sat there.
- Once you get a nice amount of vegetable juices in the bowl, use that as the base for your vinaigrette. Just add a touch of vinegar, some garlic and pepper, and then whisk in as much olive oil as you like. You could also use a more neutral oil like (affiliate link) grapeseed oil so the flavors of the vegetables really shine through.
- Toss the dried bread, vegetables, and vinaigrette together and let sit for at least thirty minutes to an hour before serving at room temperature.
To even shorten the directions:
- Dry cubed bread in oven.
- Salt vegetables and drain over a bowl.
- Make vinaigrette with the juices in the bowl.
- Stir everything together.
- Let sit so vinaigrette soaks into the bread.
Now that you know the technique, I’ll show you how I made my summer tomato peach panzanella. Feel free to make yours like I made mine, or do your own thing. To stay true to the original Tuscan salad, make sure the tomatoes are the star of the show.
- 2-3 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes and peaches
- 2 ears sweet corn on the cob, boiled for 5 minutes then cut from the cob
- 1 small to medium cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced Vidalia onion, (red onion would work well here, too)
- 1 small bell pepper, washed, seeded and diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh (to keep peaches from browning)
- 3/4 pound Italian bread (ciabatta, focaccia, etc)
- 2-3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 10-12 large basil leaves, torn or chopped with a very sharp knife
- 4-6 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Blanch the tomatoes and peaches for about 1 minute to loosen the skins. Peel and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the tomatoes and peaches in a colander set over a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, including the bread. Add corn, cucumber, onion, and bell pepper.
- Sprinkle with salt and Fruit Fresh and toss well. Allow to drain about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350. Cut crust off the bread (or leave it on) and cut or pull into bite-sized pieces. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice. Let cool.
- You should have a nice amount of juices collected in your bowl. To that, add the vinegar, garlic, mustard, and black pepper. Whisk well to combine.
- While whisking madly, stream in the olive or grapeseed oil. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. You can also add a bit more vinegar if you want it sharper or more oil if you like your vinaigrettes more mellow.
- Add the reserved vegetables, cooled bread and almost all the herbs and fold together to evenly moisten the bread. Allow to sit for at least half an hour or up to an hour, folding a couple of times.
- Add the torn mozzarella and the reserved basil to the top for serving. You can toss everything together once everyone has seen your gorgeous salad.
And there you have it friends. Summer Tomato Peach Panzanella. It’s an end-of-summer symphony of flavors that I think you are really going to love.Happy almost-fall, friends. And remember this summer tomato peach panzanella salad. It’s a great one for using up all sorts of ripe, juicy vegetables. Enjoy it!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.