Panzanella is a Tuscan summer bread salad, often made to use up stale bread. The typical panzanella consists of chunks of stale bread and tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
So why are we talking about a summer salad for Thanksgiving? Reader Jessica Benoit offers this fall version of panzanella, inspired by her first Thanksgiving abroad and thoughts of the traditional stuffing her family ate during holidays in New England with extended family.
In 2011, Ms. Benoit moved from Knoxville,Tenn., to Geneva, Switzerland, to be with her new husband, whom she had met on a European vacation. Nostalgic and facing her first holiday without her family, she decided to host a European Thanksgiving, inviting friends who were French, German, Dutch, British, Swiss and Italian.
“None of my guests would have ever participated in a Thanksgiving dinner before,” writes Ms. Benoit. “I could literally cook them anything I wanted to, and they would never know whether it was conventional or not. This inspired me to take some traditional ingredients and ideas and jazz them up in a slightly unorthodox fashion.”