Roasted Grape Tomato Panzanella Salad

★★★★★ 3 Reviews
Stripey avatar
By Linda Dalton
from Coconut Creek, FL

I love making my own croutons and use them all the time in soups, salads, and dips. And with fresh veggie season almost upon us, I love to make them the star of my Panzanella salad with fresh, out of the garden vegetables and a light vinaigrette.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

This Panzanella salad tastes like summer. From the fresh cucumber to the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes, and the saltiness of Kalamata olives there are layers and layers of flavors in this side salad. Creamy Fontina cheese marinates in the dressing and absorbs those tangy flavors. What's the star, though, is the homemade croutons. They are easy to make and worth the time. Buttery, salty, and crunchy, the croutons pull the whole salad together.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
method Bake

Ingredients

  • PARMESAN CROUTONS
  • olive oil for coating pan
  • 4 c
    French or Italian baguette cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp
    butter
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp
    fresh garlic minced or grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c
    grated Parmesan cheese, or a little more if you like
  • SALAD
  • 4 c
    prepared Parmesan croutons
  • 8 oz
    grape tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 c
    cucumbers seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 md
    red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10
    or more Kalamata olives, halved
  • 4 oz
    Fontina cheese diced in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
  • DRESSING
  • 1 tsp
    Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp
    red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp
    Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp
    freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 c
    extra virgin olive oil
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How To Make

Test Kitchen Tips
We recommend tossing the veggies in the dressing and then add the croutons about 30 minutes before serving. That will allow the flavors to blend but the croutons won't become too soggy.
  • 1
    To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly rub it with olive oil and set aside.
  • 2
    In a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter and oil. When the butter starts to foam and/or bubble, add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds.
  • 3
    Now add the bread cubes. With tongs or a large spoon, coat the cubes with the butter-oil-garlic mixture.
  • 4
    Turn off the heat and add salt and pepper.
  • 5
    Place seasoned cubes in a medium-size brown paper bag and add the Parmesan cheese. Shake the bag until cheese coats the cubes.
  • 6
    Place cheese-coated bread cubes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through the baking process.
  • 7
    Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • 8
    To make the salad: Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and give the grape tomatoes a quick bath in olive oil. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes until tomatoes begin to split. Let cool.
  • 9
    To make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
  • 10
    In a large bowl combine cooled tomatoes, croutons, cucumber, onion, olives, and cheese.
  • 11
    Toss salad with dressing.
  • 12
    Let flavors meld before serving. Serve in sturdy lettuce cups.
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