Panzanella—the word is said to have come from the Italian “pane” (bread) and “zanella” (soup bowl). What it really means is a salad-sandwich, with fresh garden vegetables, great bread, and terrific olive oil. Though it’s most often associated with tomatoes, this summer toss-up is open to any interpretation—including zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers—and it’s terrific with green beans. Make this ahead so the flavors mingle and the bread softens; it’s perfect picnic or beach fare. If you like, add cooked chicken, diced mozzarella, or crisped pancetta for a main-dish salad.
Serves about 4 to 6 (recipe is easily doubled)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Toss the bread cubes with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Put into a salad bowl.
Fill a skillet with 1 inch of water, set over high heat, bring to a boil and cook the green beans until they are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes, but not too soft.
Drain beans and pat them dry.
Cut beans into 3-inch pieces.
Put beans into the salad bowl and add the tomatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and remaining olive oil and toss with the vegetables to lightly coat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.