Crab Caprese Panzanella Salad

Mmmm! The tastes of summer.

For many, their perfect taste of summer may be a ripe tomato or a buttery ear of corn.

Perhaps, their perfect taste of summer is an ice cold, sweet bowl of homemade ice cream.

But for me and mine, our perfect taste of summer is captured in one dish, Crab Caprese Panzanella Salad. This dish is super simple, but its deliciousness is dependent on quality ingredients.

Caprese Salad is an Italian dish that is made up of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese.  To put the caprese salad completely over the top, it is topped with a drizzle of balsamic dressing and salt and pepper.

If you have underripe, hot house tomatoes, you are going to be disappointed.  If you leave out the fresh basil your whole dish will be unbalanced.  Fresh is always best when it comes to the mozzarella.  Quality is important! The perfect bite of caprese salad is built by incorporating each ingredient, piled high on a piece of crusty, fresh bread.  The caprese salad gets even better if you have a stack of cracked crab legs on the side.

When summer’s are hot, this is a perfect dish.  Quick to prepare.  No need to turn on a burner or the stove. ( I love this so much!)  It truly is a built-in party in your mouth!

When I could no longer eat the crusty, delicious bread thanks to gluten intolerance; I though our days of this tasty delicacy were over.

You know that phrase “Where there is a will, there’s a way”?  Well I had a huge colossal will to eat caprese salad, so I made a way.  I took my two favorite summer treats, caprese salad and crabs, and merged them to create this delicious chopped salad.  Let me tell you how to pull it all together.

Putting It All Together

Step 1:  Chop your bread of choice into 1 inch cubes.  To make this GF, I used just a regular sandwich bread, but if you can, I highly recommend a loaf of Italian bread.  Once you have your cubes cut, lay them out on your cookie sheet.  Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil.  To give them a little extra flavor; sprinkle them with parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Place the tray under the broiler and toast the cubes until they are browned and slightly crunchy. Turning them over 1/2 way through the cooking time to brown both sides.

Step 2:  Now it is time to put your salad components together.  In a large bowl, toss together chopped lettuce, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and your crab meat.  Just give these ingredients a light toss to be careful not to bruise your ingredients or break your crab meat into mush.  Add in your bread cubes and give another light toss.

Step 3:  The salad has amazing flavors happening already, but your dressing will be the ribbon that ties them all together.  In a small mason jar, combine olive oil (a good quality oil), lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Secure the lid tight and shake until it is all combined.  Pour your dressing over your salad and give one last toss to combine.

Now get ready cause your taste buds are about to do a happy dance!  This dish, really is so perfect for entertaining or just for a fuss free summer meal.    Enjoy!

Crab Caprese Panzanella Salad

Prep Time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups bread cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb. Lump Crab Meat
  • 16 oz. mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 Pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12-15 Basil Leaves, chopped
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Chop your bread of choice into 1 inch cubes. To make this GF, I used just a regular sandwich bread, but if you can, I highly recommend a loaf of Italian bread. Once you have your cubes cut, lay them out on your cookie sheet. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil. To give them a little extra flavor; sprinkle them with parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Place the tray under the broiler and toast the cubes until they are browned and slightly crunchy. Turning them over 1/2 way through the cooking time to brown both sides. This step should take about 5-7 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together chopped lettuce, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and your crab meat. Just give these ingredients a light toss to be careful not to bruise your ingredients or break your crab meat into mush. Add in your bread cubes and give another light toss.
  3. In a small mason jar, combine olive oil (a good quality oil), lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Secure the lid tight and shake until it is all combined. Pour your dressing over your salad and give one last toss to combine.

Recipe Notes

This salad is best if made right before eating.

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