Friday, August 14, 2015

Sun Gold Tomato Panzanella with Mozzarella and Capers

Sun Gold Tomato Panzanella with Mozzarella and Capers

Cherry tomatoes tossed with cubes of bread to soak up the luscious juices, seasoned with capers and marinated mozzarella. This salad is an excellent, fast, and easy addition to summer entertaining.

This tomato bread salad with mozzarella and capers makes a terrific meatless main dish in the summertime, as well as an excellent addition to a summer cookout or potluck.

It is easy to throw together at the last minute. Why? Here's a kitchen hack for you:
If you have unsliced bread--from your oven, your bread machine, or your local bakery--you know how hard it is to slice the last couple of inches? STOP DOING THAT. Cut it into cubes instead, and store those bread cubes in the freezer.

Having bread cubes on hand comes in pretty handy. In the winter I make Panade, in the summer I make panzanella, and one of these days my son is going to make croutons on the grill. Or so he claims. Teenagers.

Besides the bread cubes in the freezer, this salad also uses cheese, capers, and vinaigrette that can all hang out for weeks in the fridge. This means it's an excellent last minute recipe--when I've got onion, basil, and of course the star of the show--cherry tomatoes.

When I get a pint of cherry tomatoes in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share I usually snack on a few bunch on the way home, then my spouse snacks on them if he's around--and otherwise they need a job. The kids aren't snacking on them. Throwing together a salad like this takes care of a pint quickly, though you can always use chopped regular tomatoes if that's what you've got. 
Now the photo above is this week's pint from the farm share. The tomatoes in the salad were from last week's share, and were all Sun Gold tomatoes (like the lil' orange one in the photo above). I just didn't get an ingredients shot since I was throwing the salad together minutes while a cake was baking and we were fixing to go to a cookout. A very last-minute dish, but since the cake took longer than I expected I snapped some photos of the completed dish.

I've got tomatoes on the brain--primarily because I've got tomatoes all over the kitchen. The past few days I've roasted, processed, simmered, canned and frozen tomatoes in 2 kinds of salsa, pizza sauce, fresh tomato pesto, and just plain roasted tomatoes.  I'm happy to report that all ripe tomatoes have been accounted for in my kitchen. For now. More lurk in the garden, and I'm damn grateful.

For other recipes using tomatoes, please see my Tomato Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. I've got a Tomatoes board on Pinterest while I'm at it. And, I share what's up in the kitchen (and how I ended up with a nearly full 7 quart pot for a recipe that claimed to make 6 pints of salsa) on my FB page.

Sun Gold Tomato Panzanella with Mozzarella and Capers

1 pint cherry tomatoes (I love sun golds, use what you got and it's OK to eat several out of that pint while you're getting started)
2 to 3 cups bread cubes (see hack above)
⅔ cup marinated mozzarella balls
1 Tablespoon finely diced red onion
1 Tablespoon capers
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tablespoons sliced basil leaves (about 5 to 7 large leaves)

Halve the tomatoes, or quarter if they are particularly large, and toss with the bread cubes in a medium bowl. I like a bowl with plenty of room so I don't fling tomatoes and bread all over the kitchen, though the dogs don't seem to mind that. Set aside to let the bread soak up the tomato juices while you get busy quartering the mozzarella balls. 
Gently toss the cheese, onion and capers with the tomato-bread mixture, then add the vinaigrette and gently toss again. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper over the salad, toss, and taste to see if you need additional seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter with basil, and enjoy.


  1. I love the bread hack. We usually feed the scraps to the squirrels, well no more.

    This flavors sound like summer in a bowl to me. You are making me very hungry this morning. :)

    1. Meghan,
      I feel so conflicted offering food to the squirrels and turning around to let the dogs out to chase squirrels (I don't offer food in the back yard--only in a dog inaccessible place). This way everybody's happy. And I like that.