Tomato and peach panzanella may sound unlikely but it’s gonna knock your socks off. Or, if you’re not wearing socks this time of year, then it’ll knock your flip-flops off. Guaranteed.
This summer panzanella salad is packed with tomatoes and peaches—a seemingly strange combination, but one on which you’ll soon be hooked. I always think that if two foods are growing and ripe at the same time, they must be a good match. This salad showboats the best produce of the summer in an almost effortless salad that tastes infinitely more complex than the sum of its parts. Ripe summer tomatoes and succulent peaches are tossed together with toasted, chewy bread and finished with a simple red wine vinaigrette and gobs of basil.–Sarah Waldman
Tomato and Peach Panzanella
- 1 whole French baguette* torn into 1-inch (25-mm) chunks (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed
- 3 large (about 1 lb) tomatoes or 3 cups cherry tomatoes sliced
- 3 large (about 1 lb) peaches pitted and sliced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
- 1/2 (about 4 oz) red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn, chopped or thinly sliced fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a large bowl, toss the bread chunks with 2 tablespoons olive oil and then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until evenly toasted, stirring once or twice, 10 to 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the tomatoes and peaches with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly pour the tomato and peach mixture into a colander and place it over the bowl you used to toss the tomatoes and peaches. Let the tomatoes and peaches drain while the bread toasts.
- Lift the colander of tomatoes and peaches out of the bowl and set it aside. You should have some juices in the bottom of the bowl. Whisk 6 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, and the black pepper into the tomato and peach juices. Add the toasted bread, toss to coat, and let it soak, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and peaches, red onion, and basil to the bowl with the bread and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
*Can I use stale bread instead of toasted bread in panzanella?Hear us out on this—you can use stale bread but it still needs to be toasted. The biggest difference between stale and dried (toasted) bread is how it’s going to absorb that lush vinaigrette. Stale bread, because of molecular differences that we only partially understand, will be tough and crusty at its core while getting mushy with dressing at the same time. But toast that very same bread and you’ll end up with something that passes for decent bread again. The same goes for the fresh, tender stuff you’ve got. Toasting as instructed in the recipe will give you something that can stand up to the dressing but not be too much of a workout to eat.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I have to admit that I've never met a panzanella that I didn't love, but this tomato and peach panzanella was truly exceptional. The combination of bread, peaches, tomato, and onion tossed in the tangy vinaigrette and brightened with fresh basil was completely irresistible. This is going to be a summer favorite.
This tomato and peach panzanella is a really lovely salad with great contrasting flavors that work really, really well together. The red onions offer a sharp contrast to the sweet peaches and cherry tomatoes and result in a whole that really is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that there was a bit too much bread for the amount of dressing. But it was a great salad that would be a real crowd-pleaser on a hot, summer night.
I used gluten-free bread instead of a regular baguette and it took only 12 minutes for the bread to get thoroughly and evenly browned. Less time would have been fine, but since gluten-free bread can be crumbly, the more brown and crisp, the better it was able to absorb the dressing. (If GF bread is a necessity for this salad, find the best bakery or supermarket version available. Mine came from a local GF bakery and had the texture and interior crumb of yeast bread. Some GF loaves, while decent, don't provide the right kind of crumb or structure for this recipe.)
Originally published June 17, 2017