I have made many different panzanella over the years; some with garbanzos, some with chicken. But this is the one that I make most often.
It's comprised of just a few simple ingredients, but they must be the best quality ingredients. Your best vine-ripened tomatoes, your best olive oil and a good, syrupy balsamic. This panzanella is a great accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken or beef!
adapted from Saveur Magazine
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
• Half a baguette or other good bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 3-4 pounds any and all kinds of the best vine-ripened tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• salt and black pepper
• a handful of fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1/4-cup olive oil and butter together in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove skillet from heat and add garlic and bread cubes and mix well. Place skillet in the oven and bake until bread is golden and crisp (10 - 15 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, prepare tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes, remove steams and slice in half. For larger tomatoes, core and slice into medium cubes. Put tomatoes in a large bowl, add vinegar and remaining 1/4-cup oil, then season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Shortly before serving, toss bread and basil with tomatoes. Adjust seasonings. Serve, garnishing with springs of basil.