Popular in Italy, panzanella is a refreshing salad made with leftover bread and tomatoes that virtually transports you to the rolling Tuscan hillsides. This recipe changes the classic a bit by adding green beans and yellow wax beans, as well as feta cheese. Although it’s not a classic Italian cheese, it adds a wonderful salty quality to the salad. Give this recipe a try the next time you find yourself with leftover stale bread.
Slice the bread into 1-inch slices. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 cup water and let sit for 2 minutes. Carefully squeeze the bread until dry. Tear it into 1-inch pieces and let rest on paper towels for 20 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green and yellow beans and simmer until tender but still crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the tomatoes, onions, bread, and cooled green and yellow beans in a large serving bowl. Tear the basil into 1⁄2-inch pieces and toss carefully into the bowl along with the oregano.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully toss the salad with the vinaigrette and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve with the crumbled feta on top.
Photo: Erin Kunkel