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Cornbread and Chipotle Panzanella

Cornbread and Chipotle Panzanella

Renée Robinson

Leftover Cornbread Makes a Great Bread Salad.

I had a big slab of leftover cornbread and was in the mood for panzanella, so why not? I knew I needed to treat the cornbread differently than I normally treat the bread in my classic panzanella because it is so crumbly. I cut it into cubes and baked it at a higher temperature than normal in order to get it as dried out as possible and I wanted it toasted. These cubes of cornbread were going to be treated more as croutons, rather than letting them sit in the vinaigrette for awhile.

Toasted Cornbread

I also had 3 ears of corn, so I cooked them on a grill pan, cut the kernels off the cob and added them to my tomatoes. Ever since first making Kenji Lopez’s classic panzanella recipe years ago, and realizing it’s my favorite version, I’ve more or less stuck to the same technique, which is to place the sliced tomatoes into a colander set over a large bowl, toss them with a healthy amount of salt and let them drain into the bowl while putting together the rest of the ingredients.

Salted Tomatoes

The drained tomato juice in the bowl is then mixed with other ingredients for the vinaigrette. I like a lot of minced shallots in mine, along with a little garlic, Dijon mustard and plenty of olive oil. This time around I also added a minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce. 

Sliced red onion, a Fresno chile, parsley, and crumbled queso fresco finished up the salad. I let this sit for 10 minutes or so and then at the last minute, I gently tossed in the toasted cornbread. 

It was as good as I’d hoped. It’s really a great way to enjoy the last of the fresh corn and tomatoes of the season, not to mention being perfect for using up leftover cornbread. Panzanella never disappoints me and this one was no exception. 

Cornbread and Chipotle Panzanella

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Cubes of cornbread are toasted and tossed into corn and tomato panzanella, along with a chipotle chili in adobo, and some tangy queso fresco. Talk about delicious!

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  • 3/4 pound cornbread, cut into 1 inch cubes and left to sit out for a couple of hours

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 cup

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked

  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin

  • 1 Fresno chile, sliced into rounds

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher salt

  • 1 large shallot, minced

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (the chili and a little of the sauce)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco


  • Preheat the oven to 400° with a rack in the center.
  • On a parchment lined sheet pan, spread out the cornbread and very lightly toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until the cubes are crisp and brown on the edges, flipping the cubes halfway through. Set aside.
  • Using either a grill or a grill pan, cook the corn until charred in places. Let cool. Slice the kernels off the cobs and set aside.
  • In a colander set over a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the salt. Let drain for at least 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times.
  • Remove the colander from the bowl and place it in the sink. To the bowl of tomato juice, whisk in the shallots, garlic, mustard, chipotle chile, vinegar, and plenty of black pepper. Slowly whisk in the remaining half cup of olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
  • Add the tomatoes, corn, onion, parsley, and queso fresco to the bowl of dressing, tossing well. Taste for seasoning again. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Gently toss in the toasted cornbread and serve. Enjoy!

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