Thursday, August 14, 2008
Barefoot Bloggers: Panzanella
For the first August Barefoot Bloggers recipe, Melissa, of It's Melissa's Kitchen, chose panzanella. Early August is a perfect time to make panzanella because of the abundance of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil.
I halved the recipe (approximately) and had panzanella for dinner. Although it was my main dish, this would also be an excellent side dish (especially for those whose husband believes that meat is the only acceptable choice for a main dish). I'm so glad I decided to participate in Barefoot Bloggers . . . I may have overlooked this delicious recipe if not for Barefoot Bloggers!
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread loaf or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced (I omitted the onion)
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the 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. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper (I think this [salt] is one of the reasons the panzanella is so delicious). Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.