Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Cornbread Panzanella Salad is a Southern spin on an traditional Tuscan salad.  The secret is in the cornbread croutons!

Cornbread Panzanella Salad

I love a good Panzanella Salad, but I wanted to change it up a bit and add a little "southerness" to the dish.  Cornbread has been a staple in my family since I was a child, and what better way to dress up this salad than to use cornbread instead of regular Italian bread.   To make the cornbread hold up and not crumble everywhere in the salad I toasted it and made a sort of cornbread crouton which comes out crispy  and stays intact in your salad.  You can either use homemade or a store bought version that's already made.  Make it easy on yourself!  

The other part is to use good tomatoes.  In the summer this isn't a problem but in winter I find that using cherry or grape tomatoes will give you the best flavor.  So you can still have your winter Cornbread Panzanella Salad and eat it too!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • cornbread (homemade or store bought (already made)
  • garlic 
  • olive oil
  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • English cucumber
  • red onion
  • fresh basil 

Substitutions and Variations

  • In the summer use ripe Roma or vine ripened tomatoes for great flavor
  • Bread is the main ingredient of this recipe.  To create variations of this salad switch out the type of bread used.  Try ciabatta, French, rustic Italian, Pumpernickel, and Sourdough are all good choices. 
  • Add some veggies of your choice to the salad.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • If using store bought cornbread try and purchase a round or square loaf.  They are easier to cut or break into chunks.  Cornbread muffins tend to crumble too much.
  • Make sure to allow the bread croutons to cool once out of the oven before adding them to the salad.  Hot croutons will soak up all of your vinaigrette.

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Cornbread Panzanella Salad

serves 6

2 cups of torn or cubed cornbread (1" pieces)
1 garlic clove, minced2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1 handful of fresh basil leaves, rough chop

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a backing sheet place the cornbread pieces in a single layer.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden and toasted.  (Toss the croutons halfway through)

Meanwhile in a small jar combine the garlic, vinegar, and a dash or salt & pepper.  Top the jar and shake to combine.  

Remove croutons and allow to cool while you are putting together the salad.  

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and basil.  Add the cooled croutons and mix all ingredients together.  Pour over the vinaigrette and toss until everything is coated.  Season with salt & pepper if desired.  Serve at room temperature.

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