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Favorite food alert! Delicious Panzanella

Posted Aug 10 2009 6:20pm
No witty title tonight dear readers as I'm feeling under the weather and am most likely going to retreat under my covers/waterbottle with my many stuffed moose as soon as this post is done. I had to come on here and jot down the "recipe" for one of the delicious meals I had this weekend before I forget what I used.

This is quite possibly my new favorite salad -ever-: Panzanella. This Tuscan dish demonstrates the Mediterranean art for making beautiful dishes out of less-than-appealing leftovers. The important things to remember about this salad are the quality of your fresh ingredients and the staleness of your bread. Panzanella works best with a nice crusty loaf that has had a day or two to go stale and your favorite fresh market vegetables. Do yourself a favor and only choose beautiful produce as the quality of your veggies is really what makes this simple dish sing.

I deconstructed one of my favorite sandwiches and combined those ingredients with fresh summer tomatoes. It worked perfectly and the fresh tomato juice was so delicious that I probably could have gone without the vinegar dressing. The best part about this salad is by far the bread because it absorbs the flavors of the fresh vegetables and adds a delightful chewiness. The chewiness is what you want, and why you need to be sure to use *stale* bread. I can't stress that last one enough. Beware the moist, inviting loaves as they'll turn your salad to mush.

Miss' Summer Panzanella
2 large avocado; ripe but in no danger of becoming guac with stirring ^~
1/2 of a stale loaf of country bread
2-3 green onion stalks
1 big yellow pepper (actually, probably closer to 2 but the one I found was *huge* haha)
5-6 Italian tomatoes (or your favorite variety)
fresh basil leaves
salt, white balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil to dress

Preparation couldn't be easier. Dice the five first ingredients into rustic sized chunks. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir, scooping out and flipping the vegetables that were on the bottom of your bowl to the top to ensure a nice even coat. The juice from the tomatoes as well as the ripest, softest part of your avocado will begin to coat the bread already. I find it helps to do this first because it prevents your stale bread cubes from absorbing too much vinegar/oil. After a good few stirs, drizzle white balsamic vinegar (I used about 3 tbsp) and olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Sprinkle with salt to taste, garnish with basil and serve.

See? Trust me, this is as delicious as it is easy. The best part about Panzanella is it's versatility. Throw in whatever looked freshest at the market and dress with whatever vinegar you like best!

Enjoy!
❤ Miss

{image credit to vegetarianminimeals.net, do I ever need to get myself a new camera..}
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