Panzanella. Sounds like a Disney princess name, right? This is something I've wanted to make for a long time, and finally had the opportunity last week. I am SO excited to tell you about this crusty bread and veggie salad, because... are you ready for this? We grew ALL the veggies in it! That's a bunch of cherry tomatoes, a lemon cucumber, and a few heaping handfuls of basil leaves.
I know everyone's bragging about their veggie garden bounties this time of year, but I am just in awe of the fact that we grew this stuff, so please indulge me while I say YAY! This recipe is a massive improvisation on a recipe from the always fabulous Ina Garten, based on what I had in the kitchen and the garden. She also includes bell pepper, red onion, and capers, and uses champagne vinegar instead of balsamic. Yum.
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small baguette or ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large lemon cucumber, cut into cubes
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.
2. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. 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.