Panzanella Please!

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Hello to you and happy Thursday, you’ve almost made it and isn’t it grand! Well, I looked at a weather map today, it’s definitely winter. In Los Angeles it’s in the 50s, Dallas 30s, New York 30s, Washington 20s and only if you’re in South Florida are you experiencing endless summer as its 80! So, what does this have to do with food, a lot I think, because what I made tonight definitely isn’t a traditional winter meal, more of a summer meal. It just sounded so good, and you know what, it was fantastic! So my seasonal timing might be off, but my taste buds, like the mercury in the thermometer, accurate baby!

If you’re looking at the picture above and saying “great you made a salad”, you would be correct. However, this salad is extra special as it’s Panzanella or panmolle a Tuscan chopped salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked bread in olive oil and tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions and basil, dressed with champagne vinaigrette. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy.

I made it more substantial by adding some chicken breast that I sautéed in olive oil and cut up into 1 inch pieces, but you don’t have to. It was enough for a dinner and I felt great and satisfied. It may be a salad on the outside, but there’s so much in textures and taste with the french bread sautéed in olive oil giving you a crunchy chewy texture, then you get a pop of earthy basil, sweetness from bell peppers and then a salty pop from the capers, every bite so exciting.

You should definitely make it, besides being so appetizing it’s visually stunning with color. Thanks for reading and have a great new day tomorrow, don’t forget your coat, it’s winter time.

 

Ingredients

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

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 1/2 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

 

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
  3. 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.

 

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten.

 

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