Grilled Panzanella Salad with Roasted Peppers and Torn Mozzarella

Circle B Kitchen

This is our favorite version of panzanella salad, which began with a recipe from Serious Eats.  I’ve made some changes to the recipe, but if you’d like to consult the original, you’ll find the link below.  Salting the tomatoes to extract their juice is crucial to this salad’s success, so don’t skip that part.  It’s also why you need to use very ripe tomatoes.  I used heirloom tomatoes that were very heavy and so delicious.  When the juices from the tomatoes mingle with the olive oil and soak into the bread, it really is quite heavenly.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

2 large very ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 bell peppers, cut into halves or thirds
1 large red onion, cut into 3/4-inch slices, each slice held together with 2 wooden skewers*
1 (1-pound) loaf day-old Italian bread, sliced into 1-inch thick slices
Lots of torn fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Lots of fresh parsley or basil for serving

*  I didn't use the skewers, but sort of wished I had as I lost some of that gorgeous onion into the flames.  But if you're good with a spatula, you might pull it off without the skewers.

1. Toss tomato slices with 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Set aside at room temperature. Brush peppers, red onion, and bread slices with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high and place peppers, and onions on grate. Cover and cook until first side is lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook until charred on second side and vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes longer (depending on size of vegetables, some may take longer or shorter to cook. Remove from grill as they become tender). Transfer to cutting board and tent loosely with foil.

3. Meanwhile, grill bread until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to cutting board with vegetables cut bread and vegetables into rough 1-inch cubes and transfer to bowl with tomatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and vinegar.  Tear the mozzarella cheese into pieces and toss everything to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

To serve, sprinkle the salad with torn basil or parsley.