This Italian Bread Salad Takes 15 Minutes to Make

When I think of great summer foods, a panzanella salad is always at the top of the list. The popular bread salad originated in Italy — land of so many good foods — as a means to avoid waste and make use of stale bread. A drizzle of olive oil (and sometimes vinegar) soaks into bread cubes, which are then pan-fried or toasted for juicy crunch before being tossed with a variety of seasonal ingredients.

This shortcut version incorporates store-bought, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to cut back on prep time (many chicken panzanellas ask you to grill or roast the chicken).Seasonal stars, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, and bright basil, round out the dish, and an easy, punchy dressing is liberally spooned on top.

The rainbow hues of this salad dazzle as the platter comes to the table, and every bite is as delicious as it looks. Don’t wait a second longer before serving it this summer.

Rotisserie Chicken Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 1/2 loaf

    sourdough boule or similar rustic bread

  • 4 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1/2

    small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 ears

    corn, husks removed

  • 3 to 4

    medium colorful heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

  • 1

    rotisserie chicken

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • Flaky salt, such as Maldon, or kosher salt

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh basil

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Cut the 1/2 loaf of bread into cubes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer. Bake, turning as needed, until golden-brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.

  2. Thinly slice the 1/2 small red onion and cut the kernels from the 2 ears of corn; place together in a medium bowl. Cut the 3 to 4 tomatoes into wedges. Remove the meat from the chicken (save the rest to make stock), then slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

  3. Place the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and a pinch of salt in a small jar. Seal and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 20 seconds.

  4. Arrange the chicken, tomato wedges, and toasted bread on a platter. Scatter the corn and sliced red onion over the top. Drizzle with the dressing. Tear the leaves from the 1/2 bunch basil over the salad. Season with more salt and pepper as needed. Toss and eat immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The tomatoes, corn, and red onion can be prepped and stored in separate containers 1 day in advance.

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