Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
The editors of WeChianti send a slightly different recepie for a traditional dish like Panzanella. First of all, however, the main points. The bread must be Tuscan, without salt, white and very, very dry.
Then the ingredients strictly in order, and anything you add is an extra that is not part of the DNA of this traditional dish of the very poor: ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, a dash of red wine vinegar.
“Dry” Panzanella is so called for its preparation: not the normal bread soaking in water followed hand squeezing, but the dry bread must be cut into small cubes. Preparation should be the day before serving. The bread cubes and sliced tomatoes are mixed. Then into the fridge: the tomatoes’ own liquids will soften the bread overnight, but without making it too mushy.
For those who do not like a strong onion flavour, these too can be prepared the night before. Slice them and insert them a bowl of water and a dash of red wine vinegar. This will reduce their strength.
The following day before serving add the onions, the cucumber slices, the fresh basil broken by hand (not with a knife otherwise it blackens immediately because the metal oxidizes the leaves) to the Panzanella.
And oil at will. Bring it to table, perhaps with the background chirping of cicadas or the sound of a tractor working in the fields (although at lunchtime will this will rightly be… “unavailable”). To serve with what? Traditionally a good glass of red wine, but we suggest a good fresh rose wine from the fridge.