Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Panzanella

This might be my favorite summer lunch ever.

Tomatoes from the farmer's market. Leftover crusty bread. Really good balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. So. damn. good.

Yeah, it's peasant food. It's a way to use up stale bread bits that you might not use otherwise. It's also how you use up all those tomatoes from your garden. And basil, if you happen to grow it. And maybe a cucumber if you are going all out.

The quality of your balsamic matters here. Splurge on the good stuff, and skip the crap that has flavor and color added that you buy at the grocery store.  Bonus: the good stuff is ridiculous drizzled on your summer strawberries.




Summer Panzanella

Ingredients:
maybe half a loaf of some leftover crusty bread (ciabatta, baguette, sourdough, whatever)
a couple of ripe tomatoes (heirlooms are my favorite, but even little cherry tomatoes will work)
a shallot (or maybe 1/4 onion)
a small cucumber (optional)
a few basil leaves (optional)
a few TBSPs olive oil
a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

NOTE: Your bread may be very dry, or not so much. Your tomatoes will be super juicy, or not. These factors will determine how much olive oil and vinegar you need. Start with a little. Add more if needed. Don't drown your salad in oil. Just add enough to moisten the bread.

1. Cube bread and place in a medium bowl. My cubes are maybe 1" or 1.5" around.
2. Cut up tomatoes (and cucumbers, if using) into pieces a little smaller than your bread cubes. Add to bowl.
3. Slice or finely dice your shallot/onion, depending on how much raw shallot you can tolerate in each bite. Add to bowl.
4. Roughly chop basil and add to bowl. Or chiffonade if you are feeling fancy.
5. Add olive oil and balsamic, and S&P to taste. Toss and set aside to absorb liquid, 10-15 minutes. Toss again and serve.



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