My husband and I have a fun little tradition on the evening of the summer solstice, aka the "longest day of the year". Since the sun sets so late, we head to Central Park and have a little summer solstice picnic. Sometimes we invite friends, sometimes it's just us. But it's great to lounge on a picnic blanket, eat delicious food, and take in the sunset and warm summer breezes. Since we enjoy our summer solstice picnics so much, we decided we should have picnic dinners in the park as often as we can. On one such occasion, I made this delicious salad after reading a recipe for it in Real Simple Magazine. Panzanella is basically a bread salad, but I went ahead and added loads of greens and veggies to make this a hearty, healthy main course. I also cut down on the amount of oil and shrimp from the original recipe to make it a little healthier. This is really a perfect salad for the summer- light, refreshing, zesty, and healthy! Add a glass of rose and you've got yourself a party!
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients For the Shrimp 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined Zest of 1/2 lemon Juice of 1/2 lemon Pinch salt 1/8 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp olive oil
For the Salad 1/2 lb salad greens of your choice 1 Persian or Kirby cucumber, sliced 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 orange bell pepper 1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped 1 small whole wheat ciabatta (sandwich size) Zest of 1/2 lemon Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
In a small mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Let sit for about 10 min. Heat up the oil in a saute pan and saute the shrimp about 3 min on each side or until completely opaque and cooked through. Set aside to cool. Slice the ciabatta so that it's cut open face like a sandwich. Toast until golden brown. Then cut it up into bite-sized cubes. In a small bowl, whisk together the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon with the olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Toss the ciabatta, shrimp, salad greens, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, and basil leaves together in a salad bowl. Add some of the lemon-olive oil dressing, just enough to moisten the salad (I ended up using most but not all of it). Toss together, so that everything is coated with the yummy dressing, and serve.