Monday, July 9, 2012

Panzanella Salad

I'm back from vacation!  After 12 days of being away from home and lots of mini car trips, I'm ready to be back in my own house.  I spent a few days at the shore with my family and a few days at the lake with some med school favorites.  I will miss staring out at this all day:

I will also be happy to be back at home with free range of my kitchen and pantry.  One of the hardest parts of being away from home for me is not always having access to all the foods I use everyday.  I do travel with some food, but where is the line between helpful and insulting when you bring your own food and are staying with other people?  So I just offer to cook! 

I made this recipe at the lake house, and it was the perfect thing to have on a summer night, chock full of vegetables!

Panzanella Salad
For the salad:
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 loaf of french bread (I used whole wheat french bread)
  • 2 large tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces*
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cubed
  • 2 red bell peppers, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
*The best way to seed a cucumber is to run a spoon firmly down one half and scoop out the seeds. 

For the dressing:
Using a serrated knife, cut bread into 1 inch cubes

Now, I toasted the bread in a frying pan, and if I could do it all over again I'd do this instead: spread cubes of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil evenly over cubes.  Toast in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, flipping bread with a spatula after 10 minutes.

While bread is toasting, gather all of your veggies and start chopping.

Add your chopped veggies to a large mixing bowl and toss together with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.

Prepare dressing.  When bread is done, let cool for 5 minutes then add to veggies.  Pour dressing over top of the entire salad and toss to coat.

Enjoy with an Oregon pinot noir, as you can see I did in the corner of the photo above :)  If you are on vacation, take embarrassing photo of a friend enjoying the panzanella:

I plan on making this again and again until the vegetables are no longer in season.  Summer isn't over yet!

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