I have 3 recipes to choose from – both equally delicious, just choose your the ingredients to suit your taste. The 3rd one is the easiest.

4 cups torn pieces of sourdough or rustic peasant bread, 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
5 assorted ripe heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size and shape
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1/2 cup pitted and halved Niçoise olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly crisp. (The pieces should not be as crispy as croutons.) Alternatively, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and let them dry, uncovered, for about 24 hours.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, capers, zest, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, add the extra virgin olive oil in a stream until well incorporated.
Add the onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, fennel, and olives and toss with the vinaigrette. Adjust the salt and pepper.
Tear the fennel fronds and add them to the bowl along with the basil and bread. Toss to coat. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Garnish with shaved cheese and serve.

Panzanella with Artichokes

1/2 pound ciabatta, French or sourdough loaves, cubed
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 jar (6.5 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 can (5-1/2 oz) water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted; sliced
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic; minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In bowl soak bread in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes; squeeze out excess water. Add tomatoes, onions, artichoke hearts, tuna, olives, basil, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Yields: 6 cups

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