Panzanella o Fresella

Panzanella o Fresella

Bread and Tomato Salad

This is a typical summer dish from the region of Campania, combining a salad and a snack. The bread content is a twice-baked granary bread called “fresella”, which has a delicate toasty taste. The genuine product can be found in good Italian delicatessens, or you can make it yourself at home.

Serves 4

Panzanella o Fresella
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  • 8 slices fresella or hard-baked granary bread
  • 8 small ripe tomatoes
  • 4 generous pinches of dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. To make your own fresella, cut thick slices of granary bread about 4cm thick (1 1/2 inch), and bake in a preheated oven at about 160 C/325 F/Gas 3 for 15 – 20 minutes. They must not burn, just become crisp and completely dry. Allow to cool, and store in a dry place.
  2. When you want to use the fresella, pass it under running cold water for a few seconds to dampen, not soak. Shake off the water and place whole on a large plate.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and put them on top of the pieces of bread along with their juices and seeds. If you have very ripe tomatoes you can crush them directly on to the bread with your hand, as I prefer to do. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the oregano, salt and garlic (if using) and then pour the olive oil over them. Panzanella should be enjoyed with some young fresh wine.