Stone Fruit Panzanella with Basil and Burrata

published Jul 13, 2022
summer
Stone Fruit Panzanella Recipe

Utilizing a medley of widely available seasonal produce is both what makes this salad incredibly simple and so special.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

If your goal is to make just one really great, memorable summer salad, this is the one! The heart of the dish is a delicious combo of widely available seasonal produce, which means it’s both super simple and so special. There are tender slices of ripe stone fruit, juicy tomatoes, and sweet basil — and then there’s the impossibly creamy burrata, which totally takes it over the top.

It’s the perfect party salad. Serve it for lunch or dinner or put it out on your cookout buffet. Whenever you serve it, it’s guaranteed to impress!

What Is Panzanella Made Of?

Panzanella is a popular rustic salad typically made with tomatoes and stale bread that’s softened with a vinegar and oil dressing and those delicious tomato juices. This version includes toasted bread and tomatoes, then takes things up a notch by adding peak-season nectarines, plums, peaches, and cherries. Here’s what you’ll need to make stone fruit panzanella.

  • Bread: Take your pick between ciabatta or a baguette. Tear it into bite-size pieces, toss with olive oil, and toast in the oven.
  • Peaches, nectarines, or plums: Use any one of these or a combination. The recipe calls for one pound, which is about 3 medium fruits.
  • Sweet cherries: Any variety of sweet cherries is fair game in the salad (we like a combo of Bing and Rainier cherries).
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes: One pint of ripe, bite-size tomatoes will get halved and mixed in.
  • Burrata: Tear it into pieces and scatter over the salad. If you can’t find burrata, fresh mozzarella is a good stand-in.
  • Fresh basil: Mix a small handful of chopped leaves with the fruit, and shower some small leaves on top as a garnish.
Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Buy and Store Stone Fruit

It’s peak stone-fruit season. So, not only do peaches, plums, nectarines, and cherries taste their very best right now, but they also happen to be widely available at farmers markets, farm stands, and grocers and it’s when you’ll typically find the lowest prices.

The best way to pick a perfect peach or nectarine is simple and mostly relies on using your senses. While a fragrant peach is always a good sign, it’s not the main indicator of whether or not it will be good — color is. Peaches should have vibrant tones and colors. Also, gently press or squeeze the fruit near the stem. If it just starts to give, it’s ripe and ready to eat. If the peach is still firm, it’s great if you like crunchy peaches or want to toss them into salads since they’ll hold up better.

When it comes to choosing cherries, go for firm fruit with a deep, dark color that have the stems intact. A lack of stem on a cherry doesn’t necessarily mean the cherries are low quality. They’re just not as fresh. Cherries can lose quality rapidly at room temperature, so make sure you stash them in the fridge.

Stone Fruit Panzanella Recipe

Utilizing a medley of widely available seasonal produce is both what makes this salad incredibly simple and so special.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    crusty bread, such as ciabatta or baguette

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/2 medium

    lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 3 medium

    peaches, nectarines, or plums (about 1 pound total)

  • 2 cups

    sweet cherries (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 pint

    grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

  • 1/2 small

    bunch fresh basil

  • 8 ounces

    burrata cheese

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Meanwhile, tear 8 ounces crusty bread into 1-inch sized pieces. Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange the bread into a single layer.

  2. Bake until the bread is toasted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mince 1 garlic clove. Place in a small bowl and add the juice from 1/2 medium lemon (about 2 tablespoons). Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk until combined.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to a large bowl as you complete it: Halve and pit 3 medium peaches, nectarines, or plums, then cut into 1/2-inch wedges (about 2 cups). Pit and halve 2 cups fresh cherries. Halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes. Pick the leaves from 1/2 small bunch fresh basil until you have 1/2 cup, then coarsely chop.

  4. Add the bread to the bowl. Whisk the dressing again and drizzle over the salad and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Coarsely chop or tear 8 ounces burrata cheese and dollop on top of the salad. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves and black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Fresh mozzarella cheese can be substituted for the burrata.

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.