Panzanella is a Tuscan summer bread salad. It was once a type of peasant food which traditionally utilized stale bread. Inspired by this classic, I deconstructed the panzanella salad to create what I am calling “walking salads” or handheld salads. Instead of putting the bread into the salad, I am putting the salad on top of the bread – Rubschlager cocktail breads to be precise. Brushed with a favorite vinaigrette or olive oil and toasted until crisp, Rubschlager cocktail breads are the base for these yummy salads featuring what’s freshest at the farmer’s market right now! The possibilities are endless, so expect to see more walking salads as the harvest season progresses.
What do you need to create these delicious salads on toast?
Any and all of your favorite salad ingredients/recipes and your choice of oven toasted Rubschlager breads – cocktails or European style squares are my favorite! The breads can be toasted crisp just as they are or seasoned with a great salad dressing.
My Favorite Salad Dressings
My favorite bottled salad dressing is Garlic Expressions! I was a scratch dressing only girl until my good friend and excellent cook, Sharon, introduced me to this wonderful dressing. I have used this dressing to brush on the breads before toasting as well as to marinate the awesome tomatoes before adding them to the salad. Another great bottled dressing used to compose these salads is Marzetti’s Simply Dressed lemon vinaigrette or Garden Girl’s lemon herb dressing.
In addition to seasoning the bread before toasting, I tend to spread the toasted bread with another dab of the same salad dressing to act as a base for the greens to cling to.
I have also used a smashed avocado seasoned with salt and lemon juice as a base for the salads as well. This helps the greens stay still on the toast and, of course, tastes delicious with any combination of garden veggies.
Finally, spreading the toasted slices with a fresh or soft ripened cheese accomplishes the same goal and adds delicious flavor to the salad replacing shredded or cubed cheese in the salad.
Classic Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Tomatoes
This one needs no recipe – use your favorite greens, dressing, some great tomatoes. Brush the toasts with your choice of dressing or simple olive oil and sea salt before toasting. Spread with mashed avocado as desired. Toss greens with dressing, and grated Asiago or parmigiana cheese as desired. Then have fun composing your salad!