A traditional Panzanella is a Tuscan stale bread and tomato salad drizzled with oil and vinegar. This variation uses strawberries instead of tomatoes and are tossed with toasted bread, crumbled honey goat cheese, fresh basil, and a balsamic reduction.
While I love citrus (especially blood oranges and Meyer lemons) during the winter, fresh strawberries and herbs are greatly missed. This was a wonderful recipe to kick off spring and strawberry season.
I was able to find honey goat cheese in the specialty cheese section of my grocery store. If you can’t find honey goat cheese, use regular goat cheese and drizzle a little extra honey over the salad before serving.
The balsamic reduction will thicken further as it cools. If you prepare it ahead of time and find it too thick, it can be thinned by reheating and adding a little water.
Adapted from The Housewife in Training Files
4 cups cubed baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 cups quartered strawberries
4 ounces honey goat cheese, crumbed
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, large pieces torn
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake, tossing every 5 minutes, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool.
In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, foaming, and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 15 minutes. Pour in a small bowl and set aside. It will thicken further as it cools.
In a large bowl, gently toss together cooled bread, strawberries, crumbled goat cheese, and basil. Serve immediately with drizzled balsamic reduction.