Bruschetta and Panzanella


I finally found some heirloom orange and yellow tomatoes at the grocery store. It gave me the inspiration to make bruschetta with pan-fried baguette slices and, not to mention, it makes me want to pop in one of my favorite movies (Julie & Julia). I also cubed the rest of my fresh mozzarella and added it to the recipe as my own twist.


  • 1  French bread baguette
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing bread slices
  • parmesan cheese, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to broil. Slice bread into ¼ inch thick rounds.  Brush each side lightly with olive oil and place on cookie sheet.  Broil until golden brown, turn slices over and brown on opposite side.  Remove from oven and cool. Chop tomatoes into a ¼ inch dice, add onion, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Toss together, add vinegar and oil and stir. Top cooled bread slices with tomato mixture.  Top bruschetta with a few pieces of grated parmesan or a parmesan curl, if using.  Serve immediately. *These are delicious served at room-temperature, but the tomato mixture is equally good chilled before being placed on the bread.  Great with good wine (or a cold beer!)

There is a Cajun version called Panzanella which I found in Chef John Folse’s The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine.


    • 3 cups tomato, diced
    • 3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 25 whole basil leaves
    • 25 French bread croutons, toasted

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except whole basil leaves and croutons. Blend well, cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours. When ready to serve, place one whole basil leaf on top of a crouton and top with 1 heaping spoonful of Panzanella.

I enjoy these two recipes because it’s such a refreshing experience to be able to taste all of the ingredients, especially the fresh herbs, and the tender bite of the tomatoes with the crisp texture of the croutons and baguette.


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