Not sure why, but I can’t write or say Panzanella! without putting an exclamation mark after it. Could be some welcome giddiness about the arrival of summer.

This is also known as Tuscan Summer Bread Salad, and it’s a great salad to bring to a potluck barbecue. That’s exactly what I did – the background of this photo is my brother’s patio and yard. This salad made a wonderful side dish to the fantastic burgers he grilled up.

I was inspired to make it after a particularly summery and delicious episode of Barefoot Contessa. One of the nice things about having a laptop with wireless internet is that I can surf while I’m watching TV, and within moments I had found the recipe on Food Network’s website.

I was glad to have a good reason to make this huge salad – its yield is 12 servings – since there are 21 of us (11 adults, 10 kids) when the entire family gets together. Like any salad, it’s all about proportions, so it wouldn’t be hard to reduce the ingredient amounts to serve two, but the sight of this large bowl brimming with bright vegetables, huge croutons and torn basil was amazing.

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