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Salt & Wind Travel

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Unbeknownst to me, I insulted everyone before the meal even began by serving this Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad.

I was cooking for my Florentine friends for the first time since moving there and was eager to use all the amazing Italian produce from the local mercato. What I didn’t know is that as much as Florentines are serious about fashion they’re even more serious about food.

And when it comes to Tuscan food, they’re adamant about keeping traditional things traditional. Here I was thinking I had just started to get acquainted with my life in Italy — finally confident in both my Italian language and cooking — only to find out I had totally goofed. You see I had messed with one of the most sacred Florentine dishes, Panzanella.

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

The Classic Tuscan Bread Salad

To call my friends Panzanella purists don’t even begin to explain it. This classic Tuscan bread salad is one of the most famous dishes to come out of the region because — like so many amazing Italian recipes — the beauty is how much flavor results from so few ingredients.

Never ones to waste food, Tuscans would soak day-old bread in water or vinegar then combine it with onions, oil, and nothing else. Maybe tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil once those ingredients became the norm in Italy, but not one thing more is added to the classic panzanella salad.

Grilled Peach Panzanella

Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients in this salad are simple yet full of flavor. You’ll need 2 shallots, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of unrefined cane sugar, 1 pound of sweet cherry tomatoes, 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil or citrus-infused olive oil, 3/4 pound of herbed country bread, 1 garlic clove, 2 medium ripe peaches, and a handful of fresh basil leaves. Each component brings its own unique touch to this vibrant salad.

How to Make This Recipe

Start by soaking the shallots in vinegar with a pinch of salt and sugar, setting them aside to marinate. Toss the cherry tomatoes in part of the olive oil and season. For the bread, brush slices with oil and grill until charred, then rub with garlic and tear into pieces. Grill the peaches just until charred on one side. Combine the bread with the marinated shallots, add the tomatoes, season, and mix well. Finally, gently fold in the peaches and basil just before serving, drizzling with more olive oil if desired.

Grilled Peach Panzanella
Grilled Peach Panzanella

Variations On Panzanella

Then there was me. Feeling adventurous, I had put handfuls of arugula, some fresh buffalo mozzarella, some Tropea onion (from the south of Italy, not Tuscany), a diced English cucumber, and loads of balsamic vinegar. All things that seemed fair game since I was in Italy but all things that my Florentine friends frowned upon.

A debate worthy of the UN erupted as everyone argued the ways in which I had breached the Panzanella code. They then explained their own methodologies, teaching me how long to soak the bread (long enough but not too long), how it must be crumbled by hand, then tossed with red or white wine vinegar (never the expensive balsamico from Modena)and how the only acceptable onion is the red Tuscan variety. But then they tried my salad. And, luckily, they liked it; so much so that it became our standard summertime salad from then on.

Years have since passed and I’ve made so many versions of Panzanella, I couldn’t begin to list them all. But that’s the beauty of this dish: so many flavors work fabulously.

This year it’s been about the peaches – for the record, all the stone fruit has been positively dreamy – so I’ve been grilling peaches and nectarine and some herbed country bread for my latest act of Panzanella blasphemy. Sometimes even topping it with a piece of burrata or fresh buffalo mozzarella for a Caprese meets Panzanella dish.

It’s so far from traditional I don’t dare ask my posse of Panzanella purists to try it, but it’s for the better as I’m not sure I’d want to share it with them anyhow.

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What to Pair This Recipe With

This Peach Panzanella Salad is versatile enough to serve as a standalone dish or alongside other summer favorites. It pairs beautifully with grilled chicken or grilled meat, offering a sweet and tangy contrast to the proteins.

For a more robust meal, consider serving it with a chilled rosé or a crisp white wine, which complements the salad’s bright flavors. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a simple family dinner, this salad is sure to be a refreshing addition.

Okay, now it’s time to stock up your pantry with all the Italian essential ingredients, then try your hand at making this, and then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad Recipe

A super simple twist on classic Italian bread salad, this grilled peach Panzanella salad is made with grilled stone fruit, garlicky crusty crostini bread,  and tons of basil.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 296 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 shallots end trimmed, halved and sliced paper thin
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 pound sweet 100s tomatoes or cherry tomatoes halved 
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or your favorite good-quality citrus-infused olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound herbed country bread cut into 1 inch-slices
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 medium cling-free ripe peaches cut into eights
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves

Instructions
 

  • Soak The Shallots: Heat a grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, combine shallots and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar in a small nonreactive bowl, season with each a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, stir to combine, and set aside for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
    In a large bowl, combine the halved tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the oil, season with salt, toss to combine, and set aside.
  • Make The Crostini: Brush the bread slices on both sides with the remaining olive oil, place on a grill pan, and cook until charred on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set bread aside to cool slightly.
    Grill The Peaches: Brush peaches the peaches with the olive oil, season with salt, and grill, cut-side down, until just charred on one side but still firm, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Plate The Salad: When the bread is cool enough to handle, rub it with the garlic clove and season with salt. Cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Add the shallots and vinegar to the bread and toss to coat. Just before serving, add the tomatoes to the bread mixture, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil or vinegar, as desired. Add peaches to the bowl and gently turn to coat. 
    Plate the salad, scatter with a handful of fresh basil leaves, drizzle with additional olive oil as desired, and serve.

PERSONAL NOTES

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 6gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 295mgPotassium: 260mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 551IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dairy free, grilled peaches, italian bread salad, nut free, vegetarian bread salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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