A Very Berry Panzanella
April 5, 2021
Category:
Food

Panzanella is a traditional Italian salad made with stale bread, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and vinegar. It’s simple (all you need is a knife, and some time to wait for the bread to soak in the dressing), versatile (any kind of vegetable can find a happy home in one), and fresh. 

But why is it only savory? A fruit panzanella takes the same mix of bread, fresh produce, and acid, and turns it into something that’s great for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or dessert.

For this version, we macerate blackberries with honey, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and white balsamic; vinegar highlights and punches up the berry flavor. Mashing some of the berries releases their juices, giving you the liquid that will soak your bread. A crusty loaf of whole-grain nut-and-seed bread that’s been cubed up, tossed in olive oil and honey and then dried out in the oven is your base, and unsalted pistachios and shredded mint are added pops of crunch and flavor. Add a dollop of yogurt at breakfast, or a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

Like a traditional panzanella, this is more a method than a recipe — make it all spring and summer long, substituting whatever’s seasonal and playing with the flavors. Strawberry, basil, and almond in the spring; peaches, ginger, and macadamia nuts in the summer; plums, thyme, and walnuts as summer starts to wane.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Michelle Weber

Fruit Panzanella, inspired by Super Natural Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh blackberries
  • Juice of 1 orange, or ¼ c. commercial orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. + ¼ c. honey
  • 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 loaf whole grain bread, the more seeds and nuts the better
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. unsalted pistachio nuts
  • ¼ c. mint, sliced into a fine chiffonade

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the berries. In a very large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, 3 tablespoons of the honey, and the vinegar in a large bowl. Toss the berries in and mix thoroughly Use a fork or potato masher to crush about a third of the berries. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about an hour, tossing when you remember.
  1. Prepare the bread. Preheat your oven to 350. In another large bowl, mix the other ¼ c. of honey, the olive oil, and vanilla. Add the cubed bread and toss vigorously to coat it all in the liquid.
  1. Cut the bread into one-inch cubes; you’ll want five cups’ worth. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat; add the other quarter-cup of sugar and stir until it’s fully melted and combined. Stir in the vanilla. Dump the sugary bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until nice and toasty.
  1. Mix! Add the toasted bread, nuts, and mint to the berries and their accumulated juices, nuts and mint together. Toss thoroughly, again. Let sit for at least one hour, tossing every 15 or 20 minutes, 
  1. Serve either chilled or at room temp with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream on top and some zest from the orange.