Watermelon Panzanella

Panzanella, a salad of ripe, juicy tomatoes and croutons, was created as a way to use up day-old bread. Including watermelon in the mix brings a modern fresh flavor to this classic dish.

Recipe by Apollonia Poilâne from the POILÂNE: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the croutons
8 ounces (225 g) day-old Poilâne-Style Sourdough or other sourdough, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

For the vinaigrette
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

And the salad
8 ounces (225 g) watermelon flesh, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces (about 3 cups), juices reserved
3 medium tomatoes, diced, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, juices reserved
8 ounces (225 g) cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1½ cups)
¼ cup (7 g) chopped fresh mint

Directions:

MAKE THE CROUTONS: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

On a large baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil. Bake, stirring once or twice, until the outsides of the cubes are crisp but the centers are still chewy, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the watermelon and tomatoes and their juices to the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add the croutons and toss. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours, before serving. Add the mint and serve.

Watermelon Panzanella is excerpted from POILÂNE: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery © 2019 by Apollonia Poilâne. Photography © 2019 by Philippe Vaurès Santamaria. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.