Thursday, May 5, 2011

Panzanella

Panzanella is one of my favorite summer meals.  When the tomatoes are perfect, there is nothing better than this salad.  These tomatoes weren't perfect (with it being May and all), but it was still a delicious sneak peek of what is to come in a few weeks.  Tomatoes are my favorite food, after all...

Panzanella Salad 

(you can substitute whatever you like and adjust quantities, but you have to tomatoes and bread to call it panzanella)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 loaf crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large ripe tomatoes, or 2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 hothouse cucumber, cut into chunks
1 orange bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
5 large basil leaves and 3 mint leaves, coarsely chopped

For the vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1.Chop up the bread, drizzle olive oil, toss with salt and pepper, and toast in the oven at 400 degrees until it starts to brown. 5-10 minutes
2. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, orange pepper, red onion, basil, and mint. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
4. Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.