Thursday, July 1, 2010

Awesome Summer Recipe: Panzanella (Tomato & Bread Salad)

This week, we're holding an Italian-themed camp at The Kitchen Studio. Why? Well, I really like Italian food and so do teens & tweens, so it seemed like a good match. My favorite dish of the week so far hasn't been the ravioli with homemade ricotta (though they're near the top of my list) or the focaccia or even the cool and refreshingly delicious lemon sorbet. Nope. The honor this week goes to Panzanella. A rustic, casual tomato/bread salad.

We used the aforementioned focaccia bread (a day old and left out to stale a bit overnight), and threw in some homemade mozzarella, but you can improvise as you wish. Here's the recipe we used:

Serves 8 (or 4 if you're really, really, really hungry)

6-8 cups of day old bread, cubed (not the sliced bread from the grocery store, but good, rustic bread)

6 Ripe, juicy tomatoes, diced into 1" pieces, seeds removed

1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves, sliced into a very thin chiffonade

1/2-3/4 cup Olive Oil, plus a little extra to toss with the bread (maybe another 2-3 T.)

1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1/2 pound Fresh Mozzarella, cubed (totally optional, but delicious)



Preheat your oven to 400-degrees. Scatter your bread cubes onto a baking sheet with sides and toss with 2-3 T. of olive oil. Bake fore 10 minutes, or until a little crunchy but not tooth-breakingly hard. Cool.

Pour red wine vinegar into a large bowl. Add Dijon Mustard and whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil, while whisking. (Hint: The less oil, the more tart the dressing, and I like my dressing tart.)

Add garlic to the dressing and whisk to combine.

Add diced tomatoes, bread, fresh basil and if using, the cubed mozzarella to the dressing. Sprinkle with a good bit of salt (1/2-1 t.) and pepper (1/4-1/2 t.). Toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Ta-dah! Summer in a bowl I tell you. Not the sexiest picture you'll see, but it is yummy! Make it, love it, enjoy it. Happy summer!

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