First off, apologies all around for the technical difficulties last week, and to those of you who got a sad, gray, “Legacy IP DNS blah blah” message instead of a recipe for Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade. Thanks to a kind man named Piotr who desperately needs a vowel, we are back up and running. Now, on to this weekend.
Some recipes you just have to know. Ina Garten’s panzanella is one of them, especially in summer. In addition to being a way to use a whole lot of summer’s best produce, it’s easy to prep, easy to bring, easy to assemble and it’s DELISH. Plus, it’s a way to eat crispy bread and call it dinner (or breakfast if you can’t help yourself the morning after). Ina (AKA The Barefoot Contessa, and the goddess of bringing it) has many panzanellas in her repertoire, including an awesome greek version, but if you only master this one (and you will on your first try) the Kingdom of Picnic Greatness is yours.
As I mentioned in the recipe for Asparagus Panzanella, you can use your imagination, your cravings and the contents of your produce bin to tweak panzanella in all kinds of ways. It’s a tasty go-to on some seriously hot days. And by the way, if you live in the Upper Valley and are looking for some places to cool off check out this post on Swimming Holes and Soft Serve.
Ok peeps, stay cool out there!
For the Salad:
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (I have used halved cherry or grape tomatoes as well.)
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
You can prep the bread, veggies and vinaigrette in advance and store in their own containers. Mix it all up on site a half hour before serving.