According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and who doesn’t have a copy of that hanging out on the kitchen counter, if you’re superstitious, be wary.

Tomato, Peach & Arugula Panzanella

COOKtheBOOKFRIDAYS, the thirteenth of September and a Harvest Moon are in spooky sync. In America we haven’t had a nationwide Friday the 13th full moon since October 13, 2000. Take a long look, Readers, because it won’t happen again until August 13, 2049.



Let’s forget scary and segue from astronomy to celebrate pure mathematics. It’s Palindrome Week, a week when each date can be read the same backward and forward. Try it backward: 9-13-19. The next 6 days are all neatly reversible. Enjoy Palindrome Week because it’s the last of the century.


(Indulge my silliness. I just had to do that.)

Mise en Place – the ingredients needed for PANZANELLA

This week’s CooktheBookFridays recipe choice welcomes adaptions while also guaranteeing a big jolt of deliciousness. Who ever knew stale bread could be so magical?

Panzanella is basically an Italian salad buoyed by chunks of dry/toasted bread, tomatoes tossed or marinated in a vinaigrette and topped with chopped basil. Using that as a thrifty framework, Dorie threw together a delicious Tomato and Peach Panzanella. Among the many variations she suggests is to add ‘assertive greens like arugula’ which I did. When have I ever turned my back on being assertive?

Unlike baking when it’s necessary to follow a recipe precisely, the panzanella recipe below is simply a blueprint, do this, takeaway that, add what’s available and toss in the kitchen sink if you’re so inclined. It’s hard to wreck panzanella. That’s why we’re buddies.

TOMATO and PEACH PANZANELLA by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook

Six Servings

According to Dorie: You can serve the salad as a starter or as a lunch or light dinner, in which case you might want to add assertive greens, such as kale or arugula and perhaps some shrimp; or, if dinner, as a side dish to something light.

Juicy Tomatoes and Peaches


1 baguette or other sturdy loaf (about 7 ounces), preferably stale

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste

Fine sea salt or fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper

1 pound ripe tomatoes

2 peaches or nectarines (or watermelon, plums or cherries)

1 lemon

1⁄2 small red onion or more to taste, thinly sliced, rinsed and patted dry

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste

Shredded fresh basil leaves or other herb(s)

Stale Baguette Pieces, Nicely Browned


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Tear the bread into pieces just a little bigger than bite-sized, or cut it — often easier when the bread is stale. Spread the pieces out on the baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the bread once or twice, until the cubes are dry and lightly toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and cut into chunks. Halve and pit the peaches or nectarines and cut into similar-sized chunks, catching as much of the juice as you can. Toss the tomatoes, fruit and juice into a large serving bowl.  
  4. When the bread is toasted, stir it into the bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon over, squeeze over the lemon juice and stir again. Mix in the onion. Let the salad rest for 5 to 10 minutes (or for up to 1 hour).
  5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the vinegar to the salad and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit for a couple of minutes again, then taste it for oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Scatter over the herb(s) and serve.

S T O R I N G: Even though this salad is meant to be soft, it’s best shortly after it’s assembled.

I am able to post this recipe because Dorie Greenspan has put it on her own blog.

Is stale bread is an issue for you? Do you obsess over wasting it? Here’s another link from a Food&Wine, 2018 issue to help: 18 Panzanella Recipes That Show Bread Salad in All Its Glory

CooktheBookFridays is an international group of food bloggers who are cooking virtually through Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan. See what our group is posting here. Join us, if you wish. Or, just cook along with us and send us photos of your efforts.