BLT Panzanella with Quick-Pickled Shallots

All the flavors of your favorite summer sandwich in a hearty salad.

BLT Panzanella with Quick-Pickled Shallots
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins

Consider yourself warned: This is not your usual panzanella. Our version, made with two kinds of red tomatoes (be sure they are at the peak of ripeness), is full of bold textures and robust flavors from crumbled bacon, sharp radicchio, and crisp croutons cooked in bacon drippings and seasoned with paprika. This salad will change the way you think about panzanella (for the better, of course).

Regular panzanella salad can be heavy—understandably so, considering it's made from a base of toasted bread. This panzanella salad is equal parts indulgent and refreshing, incorporating plenty of fresh summer tomatoes to balance out the richness of the bacon fat croutons. Yes, we said bacon fat croutons. Mama will love this one.

While you won't find lettuce in a standard panzanella, radicchio provides a nice crunch to the salad. Quick-pickled shallots add an acidic note that rounds out the dish. Serve this summer salad with a glass of light white wine.


  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (about ⅔ cup)

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices

  • 4 white bread slices, cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)

  • 1 small head radicchio, quartered, cored, and cut into ½-inch strips (3 cups)

  • 1 ½ pounds red heirloom tomatoes (about 2 medium), cored, cut into ¾-inch wedges

  • ½ pound red cherry, grape, or teardrop cherry (pear-shaped) tomatoes, halved


  1. Place shallots in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Bring vinegar, ½ cup water, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in saucepan over medium, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour vinegar mixture over shallots. Cool slightly, 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 6 tablespoons drippings in a bowl. Return 3 tablespoons reserved drippings to skillet. Heat drippings, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt over medium. Add bread; toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is crispy, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plate with bacon. Crumble bacon; set aside.

  3. Drain shallots, reserving 5 tablespoons liquid. Combine radicchio, tomatoes, shallots, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons drippings in skillet over medium until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 5 tablespoons liquid. Pour hot dressing over tomato mixture; toss gently. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Gently fold in bacon and bread just before serving.

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