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Italian panzanella salad hot-weather fare

This classic Tuscan bread-and-tomato salad is traditionally served during the summer months. Walnut pieces add crunch and an earthy flavour to the mix.

This classic Tuscan bread-and-tomato salad is traditionally served during the summer months. Walnut pieces add crunch and an earthy flavour to the mix.

Panzanella Salad

175 ml (3/4 cup) walnut pieces

60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil, divided

2 ml (1/2 tsp) each sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

30 ml (2 tbsp) white balsamic vinegar

500 ml (2 cups) chopped cherry tomatoes

75 ml (1/3 cup) pitted and sliced kalamata olives

1 green onion, sliced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/2 shallot, minced

6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

1/2 loaf of leftover day or week-old crusty bread, torn or cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes (1 to 1.25 l/4 to 5 cups)

In a small bowl, combine walnuts with 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the olive oil. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add oil-coated walnuts, stirring constantly until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, olives, onion, garlic, shallot and basil. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes to develop full flavour.

Add bread and walnuts to salad mixture and toss until well combined.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tips: If white balsamic vinegar is not available, substitute regular balsamic vinegar. For added crunch, toast leftover bread before tearing or cutting into cubes.

Nutritional information per serving: 379 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 39 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 733 mg sodium.

Source: California Walnuts, walnutinfo.com