Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Mozzarella | culture: the word on cheese
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Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Mozzarella


Swapping traditional bread with cornbread modernizes this classic. Sweet cornbread complements rich and creamy mozzarella, while acidity from tomatoes and balsamic vinegar provide balance. Grit from the cornmeal adds just the right amount of texture to contrast the delicate cheese. Serve as a side or add a protein to make it a main course. For best results, make the cornbread a day in advance.



  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Cornbread cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for
  • dressing
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes cut into
  • 1- to 2- inch cubes can swap for other available tomato
  • 6 ounces fresh ciliegine mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves torn, divided
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



  • Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 7-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  • Combine egg, milk, oil, and sugar in a stand mixer with the whip attachment on medium speed.
  • Whisk together remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly incorporate dry ingredients until combined, scraping the mixing bowl often.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once cool, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes and leave uncovered overnight to dry.


  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Place the cornbread cubes on a parchment-lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1⁄4 cup olive oil.
  • Bake, stirring halfway through, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Whisk together mustard, balsamic, and remaining olive oil in a medium bowl. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, and cheese. Allow ingredients to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooled cornbread and half of the basil to the marinated mixture. Allow the bread to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Place in serving bowl, garnish with remaining basil, and season with sea salt and pepper.

Derek Bissonnette

A former chef who worked in bakeries and three Michelin-starred restaurants throughout America and Europe, Derek Bissonnette has switched gears and now documents his passion for creating food with his camera (One Cheese, Five Ways, p. 25). Derek is the author and photographer of six cookbooks and is currently working on his seventh. He combines his skills for recipe development, styling, and photography at his studio in Saco, Maine.

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