I had the sweetest dinner date with my mom last weekend. We enjoyed dinner at Hope and Olive in my hometown of Greenfield, Massachusetts. Neither one of us was super hungry when we arrived, so we ordered salads. I ordered their Panzanella Salad which featured local tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fried croutons…it was to die for. It was so good, that I talked about it with anyone who was willing to listen for days. Finally, I decided I had no choice but to recreate it…so here it is. You’re welcome… ?
Fresh mozzarella, the ripest tomatoes, sweet corn, a lemon basil dressing, and the yummiest bites of warm, fried, bread. You’ll finish it all off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze which you can find next to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in your local grocery store.
You’ll make this recipe in three parts. You will need to make the Lemon Basil Dressing. You need to fry the bread. And finally, you will need to prep the vegetables and mozzarella. It’s all pretty straight forward, you will just need to be organized, but I can talk you through that.
Making the Lemon Basil Dressing:
You’re going to use your blender here. Combine the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Papa Joe’s Salt in your blender. Blend on the highest speed until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Frying the Bread:
The fried bread in this recipe is really what takes the salad from really good, to out of this world! Crispy squares of warm bread fried in butter and olive oil = heaven! To fry the bread, you will melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then, you will add the cubed bread into the oil/butter combination and fry until golden brown. I like to do this in a single layer in a larger frying pan. I use a fork or smaller tongs to flip the bread cubes once they have browned on each side. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. While the bread is frying, prepare the veggies and mozzarella.
Preparing the Vegetables and Mozzarella:
For this part of the salad, you’ll cut the corn form the cob, slice the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and then toss in the arugula and fried bread. I like to season the mozzarella and vegetables with a little extra bit of Papa Joe’s Salt too.
Finishing the Salad:
Finally, you will toss the Lemon Basil Dressing with your salad, toss gently to combine, drizzle with balsamic glaze, and you’re done. You’ll want to serve this salad right away. Otherwise the bread will get soggy and cool off. I really hope you enjoy this new summertime salad.
Summer Panzanella with Lemon Basil Dressing
Lemon Basil Dressing
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from about 1 1/2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon Papa Joe's Salt or mixture of salt and pepper
- 3 cups day old bread, cubed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch Papa Joe's Salt
- 1 pound (2 medium) tomatoes, sliced and halved or whichever sized piece you like in your salad
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 ears corn on the cob, peeled, rinsed, and removed from the cob
- 4-5 ounces arugula
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Glaze
- fresh basil leaves
Lemon Basil Dressing
- In your blender, combine all ingredients and blend, in the highest speed, until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, warm butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add bread cubes, sprinkle with Papa Joe's Salt, and fry. Turning frequently, until golden brown on most sides. Turn off the heat and set aside until you are ready to serve the salad.
- While the bread is frying, slice tomatoes, mozzarella, and cut the corn from the cob. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl with the arugula.
- When you are ready to serve the salad, add the fried bread to the salad, toss with your Lemon Basil Dressing and combine.
- Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and additional tiny basil leaves. Serve immediately.
KITCHEN TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS THAT CAN BE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
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