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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Panzanella

I love this salad. It is seriously one of my favorite salads in the world! I learned about it a few years ago from Barefoot Contessa when I was trying to find a way to use up some stale bread leftovers I had. You can pretty much use any salad vegetables you want, which is perfect for those seasons when the lettuce doesn't look great. Any kind of crusty bread will work for this, but sandwich bread would be too soggy for this salad. This dressing is also the base for most of the vinaigrettes I make, too.


Panzanella
1 loaf day old crusty bread (boule, baguettes, foccacia)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, roughly chopped
1 green pepper, cut into small cubes
Handful salad greens or other salad vegetables
3 Tablespoons capers (optional)
1 red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon mustard, Dijon preferred
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (AKA "grape" vinegar)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

Cut bread into chunky crouton-size cubes. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warm, add the bread and 3/4 teaspoons salt. Toss to coat the bread evenly with the olive oil. Saute, shaking the pan often, until the bread is toasty and golden. Remove from heat and cool. In a salad bowl, toss together all the salad vegetables, pulling apart the red onion so slivers mix throughout. In a small jar, combine all the ingredients from the garlic cloves through the pepper. With the lid on, shake to combine the dressing. Toss the bread cubes and about 1/2 the dressing into the bowl with the salad. Allow the flavors to meld about 30 minutes before serving, adding more dressing according to individual tastes.

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