Panzanella Salad

Summer at the Farmer’s Market is my favorite time of year. The produce is plentiful, the colors are vibrant, and the flavors are at their peak. Besides early season pickling cucumbers, tomato season is my most anticipated. I religiously taste the tomato samples put out by each vendor, waiting to find the one with tomatoes so juicy they literally drip down my chin. I found them earlier than expected this year and snatched up the four most beautiful tomatoes I could find. The same vendor had cucumbers, so I grabbed one of those. The only other ingredient I needed to buy was bread. This was more of a challenge than I expected; I arrived at the market a little later than normal and many of the breadmakers were already cleaned out. I was lucky enough to score the last herb foccacia at the market and it was a perfect addition to this salad. I came home and an hour later, my mouth was jumping for joy at the taste of summer. This salad served another purpose too: get rid of all of the jars of all of the things. I don’t know how my pantry and fridge manage to accumulate all of the jars of all of the things, but it does. This cleaned out three of those jars — capers, red peppers, and olives. A pantry clean out success.

Step one is to cut your bread into 1″ cubes. 1″ is going to be a theme for this dish — everything will be cut down to roughly 1″.

 

Panzanella Salad

Spread the cubed bread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle it with oil. Place in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until the bread gets to an almost crouton like state. (Note, this is a great use for day old bread too.)

Panzanella Salad

While the bread toasts, make your dressing in the bottom of the large bowl you plan to serve the salad in. Whisk together 2/3 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Panzanella Salad

Remove the toasted bread cubes from the oven and immediately toss in the dressing.

Panzanella Salad

Next you’ll add in four large tomatoes, cut into 1″ chunks as well as one cucumber cut into 1″ chunks. Toss to combine.

Panzanella Salad

Finally, add in 1/4 cup of capers, two roasted red peppers (chopped), a handful of kalamata olives and a 1/2 cup of chiffonaded basil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. 

Panzanella Salad

Now comes the hard part. Let the salad sit for an hour. Don’t put it in the fridge, we have delicious tomatoes to enjoy.

Panzanella Salad

After an hour, enjoy. Try not to eat the entire serving bowl in one sitting. My record is half.

Panzanella Salad

 

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