Italy – Panzanella (Bread and Tomato Salad)


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by Umer Butt

ABOUT THE DISH

Panzanella salad is a salad dish which is made from stale bread combined with vegetables like tomatoes , onions, cucumber , chilli peppers and many more. It is then covered with with olive oil and vinegar as a dressing. The main reason of this salad is to give the people a healthy food with natural ingredients. It is a cheap and very easy to make and gives huge amounts of natural flavors which helps the human body in various ways. This salad is served in many restaurants as a starter and sometimes it is considered as a side dish with a main course. It is incredibly popular in the regions of Italy. Some will say that a salad cannot be a part of a country’s cuisine but don’t fool yourself. It is considered to be a very important dish as it is about 500 years old. Still now it is very much eaten everywhere. There are many variations of this salad. Some people add some protein in it to give it more flavor and some add seafood in it. These are all wonderful ways to elevate its flavor but it cuts the original idea behind this dish. The original idea was to give people something they can easily afford for the whole week with minimum ingredients so many people still prefer the original way.

MEANING OF NAME

Panzanella is an Italian word and consists of two meanings separately. Pane means “bread” and zanella means soup bowl or a plate in which it is served normally. Bread is an essential ingredient in this salad as it adds and crunchy yummy texture to it.

ORIGIN / HISTORY

Panzanella is considered to be originated in Tuscany Italy. Tuscany has already many dishes which are considered to be the best dishes of Italy and has many stories behind it. This dish may be a simple salad dish but there is also an history and a purpose behind it. This dish goes back to the 1500’s when there were farmers and peasants who used to work in the farms for the cultivation of vegetables. At that times people were not rich and could not eat protein much often so the farmers thought about something which could save all the people money and time and only requires those ingredients which they daily use. At that times bread was also very common so they thought that instead of letting this bread go to waste why no use it. They then started cutting vegetables and added the stale bread in it. It created and incredible flavor and this helped a lot of people. Soon this salad was commonly eaten. At those times tomatoes were also not so common so this dish started as a onion based salad but in the later centuries tomatoes were used more and more. There was also a poet and painter of the Medici family in the 16th century. He sang song about this dish and described his love towards it in this song. Most of the lyrics were the ingredients that were used to make this dish.

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED TO MAKE IT

  • Italian bread
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onion 1
  • Garlic
  • Banana Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Basil
  • Capers
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Salt

STEPS TO MAKE THIS DISH

  • Firstly we will cut the bread into smaller chunks and set it aside for later use.
  • Take a bowl and put it aside where we will put our vegetables after cutting it.
  • Now start cutting your vegetables.
  • First cut the cherry tomatoes and put it into the bowl.
  • Cut the onion finely and place it into the bowl.
  • Similarly cut the cucumber and put it into the bowl.
  • Take some banana peppers and put it into the bowl.
  • Grate some garlic and add it into the bowl.
  • Add some capers and mix the bowl fully.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper and mix the bowl again.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and mix the bowl.
  • Add some olive oil to the vegetables and mix.
  • Take a pan over a medium heat and add the bread pieces which we had sliced earlier.
  • Toast them for a few minutes until they are nice and crunchy.
  • When done take them out and add them to the vegetables bowl.
  • Mix them nicely and drizzle some olive oil again.
  • Add some basil leaves as well for garnish.
  • Your salad is ready.
  • Enjoy.

TIME REQUIRED TO MAKE IT

  • PREPERATION TIME : 12 minutes
  • COOKING TIME : 4 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME : 16 minutes
  • YIELDS : 3-4 servings

NUTRITION FACTS

  • Calories 192
  • Protein 3.8g
  • Carbohydrates 21g
  • Fat 11.2g
  • Dietary fiber 3g
  • Sugars 6g
  • Sodium 243.5mg
  • Calcium 63mg
  • Iron 2mg
  • Potassium 426.1mg
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