Make it Now: The Perfect End-of-Season Salad

In these lingering August days, it's just the right time to serve a bright salad as your meal's main course. Today's recipe is a version of a classic Italian panzanella, a.k.a. bread salad. A crusty loaf is the backbone of this rustic dish, since the bread chunks will soak up all of the mingling flavors. Create a full meal by topping each plate with a dollop of sweet ricotta. Serve it soon -- the season is almost over!

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta

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1/2 pound day-old crusty bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (5 cups)
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta

Related: Fast, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread bread in a single layer and bake until dry and light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar, and oil and season with salt and pepper. Add toasted bread and basil and toss to combine. Let sit 20 to 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid. Divide salad evenly among four bowls and top each with some ricotta, a drizzle of oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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