A Bread and Tomato Salad with Cold Roast Beef Hit the Spot.
Slices of cold roast beef make for a surprising addition to this dish. Whenever I make panzanella with tomatoes, I always use the basic amounts from Kenji Lopez’s recipe. It’s my favorite and uses a couple of techniques I think make for the best panzanella. 3/4 of a pound of bread and 2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes seems to be the winning ratio for that perfect balance of bread and tomatoes.
The cut up tomatoes are placed in a colander which sits over a big bowl. The tomatoes are salted and left to let their juices drain into the bowl. Those juices are then mixed into the vinaigrette before being tossed with the other components of the salad. You end up with a beautifully seasoned dressing that screams tomato flavor.
The other important technique is to dry out your bread in the oven – not to the point of browning it – only enough to crisp it up. This gives you the best of both worlds, as far as texture is concerned You get the crispy outside of the cubes of bread while the inside remains soft.
I feel free to play with the other ingredients. This time around I added a whole lot of extra minced shallots, one bunch of chopped scallions and crumbled a block of feta into the mix. All that was left to do was to very thinly slice the last of my roast beef, chop some parsley and sprinkle it all with nigella seeds. I had never considered adding roast beef to a tomato panzanella, but it really did hit the spot and the the bright flavors of the salad served to highlight the deep flavor of the beef. It worked!