Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Over the Weekend Recipe: Panzanella

I'm loving all the summery foods of late.  Stuff you can throw together because you had the ingredients lying around after the farmers market or because it's growing outside in the garden. 

This weekend I had a nice whole wheat baguette that had gone a bit crisp and the idea of a bread salad, or Panzenella, came to mind. 

Goodness, this is one tasty salad- and so filling, too.  When preparing ingredients, make sure everything is fresh.  Nothing dried, canned, or prepared with this recipe.

Summertime Panzanella


1 Whole Baguette, any kind you fancy
2 Large Tomatoes, heirlooms would be tastiest
1/2 Cup Fennel Bulb
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Cup Fresh Mozzarella (or half a ball)
5 Tablespoons Fresh Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

For the dressing:
2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Seedy Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and chopping the bread into 1 inch cubes.  Toss the bread with a bit of olive oil and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Coating the bread in cheese and olive oil will give each piece a really nice flavor. 

Next, fix the dressing by adding the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, and vinegars together in the food processor and blending for a minute.  Toss in some salt and pepper, too.  Quick and easy. 

For the remaining ingredients, chop the tomatoes, then grate the fennel with a cheese grader and add the dressing to this mixture. By letting the tomatoes marinate a bit in the garlic dressing, they'll soak up a lot of really nice flavors.  Tear up the basil leaves and Mozzarella by hand into chunky pieces and set aside.

You can either let the tomatoes marinate for 30 minutes or so, or just go ahead and throw it all together if you're starving.  Remove the bread from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, then add then bread to your bowl of ingredients.  Now, toss in the remaining Parmesan, Mozzarella, pine nuts and basil.  Give it a nice dose of fresh ground pepper and a little salt, and toss over and over until the bread starts to soak up all the juices and begins getting soft.  You can get it stand for 10 minutes  before serving or eat while it's still crunchy.  Whatever you like!

Panzanella, a tasty way to use all those summertime ingredients.


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