Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

It’s a classic and beloved Italian dish – panzanella – and once you try it, you’ll know why. Croutons soaked in extra-virgin olive oil and diced summer tomatoes. What more could you ask for? How about some bacon?! I like to add crispy prosciutto to my salad. It adds some texture and, of course, lots of flavor. Either way, this is the perfect salad for the summer. I mean, who’s to argue with the Italians? Capisce?!


Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto


Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Yield: 2 servings

1 1/2 cups large hand torn croutons from Sourdough bread (crusts removed)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 slices prosciutto, torn into medium pieces

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, diced small (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 large tomato, diced medium, seeds removed and reserved

1/2 hothouse cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on a bias

1/4 cup green olives, pits discarded and chopped roughly, optional

8 medium basil leaves, hand torn


Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, toss to combine the hand torn croutons with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Spread the croutons and prosciutto pieces on a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the croutons are toasted, but still soft in the middle and the prosciutto is crispy. (You may have to take out the croutons before the prosciutto.)

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, add the vinegars, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the tomato seeds. Close the lid and shake vigorously until well combined.

Place diced shallots and oregano in a small bowl. Using a tea strainer, strain the vinaigrette over the shallots so the tomato seeds do not combine with the shallots. Discard the tomato seeds.

In a large bowl, gently fold to combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives (if using), basil, croutons and the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide onto plates, drizzle each plate with olive oil and top with some of the crispy prosciutto pieces.

P.S. The quality of olive oil is always important, but especially in a salad where you can really taste its flavor. I’m partial to my favorite brand, Lucini Italia. Their olive oil is perfectly balanced and their vinegars are excellent as well. It can be found at most grocery stores or you can buy it online – in bulk!

Black Garlic Aioli

Do you know what’s delicious? Caramelized garlic. Now, imagine it’s caramelized/heated for over a month to achieve intense sweetness. Well, you don’t have to imagine any longer – it’s called black garlic (used often in Asian cuisine) and it’s crave-worthy, eat the whole head raw good. Super Sous and I found some at Trader Joe’s the other day and we made a delicious aioli out of it to pair with roasted brussels sprouts. It’s sweet and almost a big tangy, while being creamy and oh so delicious. Besides Trader Joe’s, black garlic is available at many Asian markets and even online at my favorite spice company, My Spice Sage. I use a mix of grapeseed oil (a neutral oil) and Lucini Italia Premium Select extra-virgin olive oil (my favorite) to get a rich flavor in this aioli. Enjoy!

Black Garlic Aioli


Black Garlic Aioli

Yield: 1¼ cups


2 large organic egg yolks

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 head black garlic, peeled

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon water


Add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, mustard and garlic to a small container or bowl with high sides. (I used the glass container that goes with my French Press.)

Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Very slowly stream the oils into the container or bowl as you continuously blend the liquid with the immersion blender. The liquid will thicken and form the consistency of mayonnaise. When it becomes too thick to blend, add water to thin and continue blending until all the oil has been incorporated.