California Summer Challah Panzanella
I am always on the lookout for leftover challah recipes (from Friday Shabbat dinner) for lazy Saturdays, and this California take on panzanella does not disappoint!
Panzanella (a chopped salad with day old bread) is a traditional Italian dish, created in the fields of Tuscany. Since summer in San Francisco is notoriously foggy and cold, I like to toss the cubed pieces of challah in my oven to dry them out a bit and create a nice crisp texture. If you live in a warmer place and can’t fathom turning on the oven, cube the challah and let it sit out on a baking sheet overnight— that should dry the bread out a bit and help it hold up with the dressing.
Total Prep Time: 45 min
Total Cook Time: 30 min
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 loaf day old challah, cubed
4 grilled summer squash, sliced into thin strips (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, grilled and cut in half (you can also use fresh if you don’t want to grill)
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 avocados, cubed
Buffalo mozzarella, torn in pieces
2 tablespoons dill, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, ends removed and thinly chopped
1/4 cup toasted & crushed walnuts
1/4 cup capers
Pickled Red Onions:
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or organic cane sugar
If toasting the challah, preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the challah into roughly 1.5” cubes. Toss the challah with a drizzle of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Bake on a baking sheet until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Make the dressing. Place the garlic in a mortar with the salt, and ground it into a paste. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the olive oil and black pepper.
Grill the tomatoes (I used a grill basket) and squash. Slice the squash into smaller pieces and slice the tomatoes in half.
Toast and chop the walnuts, prepare all other ingredients, and pickle the red onions.
Place all of the ingredients (reserving half the chopped herbs, chopped walnuts and red onions) into a large salad bowl, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with half the herbs and chopped walnuts. Toss to combine. Sprinkle pickled onions on top, and finish by sprinkling the rest of the herbs atop the salad. Enjoy!