Monday, November 17, 2008

Panzanella

Okay sometimes in life we find ourselves drawn to things on TV that later lead us to scratch our heads and think . . . okay I just spent how much time watching that movie/show . . .? I can't even believe that this happened last night! I was reading Twilight for the who knows what teenth time . . . and I suddenly found myself watching a movie with Vanilla Ice in it . . . and I watched almost all of it! I have to confess I was caught up in it because I saw it on TV in Austria while I was going to school there (years ago) and was excited because . . . I saw it in Austria! Sadly there are a few movies that I feel obligated to watch when bored and flipping threw the channels for no other reason than I saw it while in Austria, traveling in Germany (remember watching Anaconda April!), or with friends or my sisters when I was a kid/teen! Oh memories . . . Good times!
My family is always interested in making more memories together and now days we find ourselves getting together whenever possible and chowing down! One of the things that I am always asked to make is Panzanella . . . bread salad! It is a serious delight but my family always requests that I add a head of lettuce to it so that it is a bit lighter to eat. It has lots of yummy veggies and get this, hunks of olive oil toasted French bread with freshly shaved Parmesan! What is not to love! You can add or subtract anything that you want too! Panzanella (Bread Salad)
Recipe by: Emily

1 Loaf French Bread, cubed in large bite size pieces (I like using soft and dense bread)
1 Cucumber seeded, stripe peeled and sliced
2-3 Avocados chopped (They add a wonderful creaminess to the salad)2-3 Tomatoes chopped or a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup Fresh basil (optional)
1/4 cupped Thinly sliced red onion (optional)
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, I shave it and mix half in and then shave the other half on top. You can also use shredded.
1 can Artichoke hearts (optional)

Dressing #1: Sweet Garlic Dijon
2 tsp. Garlic (minced)
1 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
1-2 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt (kosher or Sea is best)
1/2 tsp. Freshly cracked pepper
1/2-3/4 cup Olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together slowly whisking the olive oil into the other ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning.

Dressing #2 Roasted Tomato
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup E.V. Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Garlic, minced
1-2 tsp sugar
Salt
Freshly cracked Pepper

Sprinkle tomatoes with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper and roast on a baking sheet in the oven until they pop and begin to caramelize. 375 for 25-30 minutes. Mash tomatoes in a bowl with a fork or toss in the blender for a smooth dressing, add balsamic, sugar, salt, garlic, and pepper to taste and slowly drizzled in olive oil while mixing. (With the roasted tomato dressing I usually leave out the fresh tomatoes in the salad and just utilize the flavor from the dressing.)

With the Dressing I actually just taste it and add more of whatever until it tastes right to me.

Toast the bread chunks in olive oil in batches in a pan until golden brown. (Be sure to sprinkle with a pinch of salt while toasting.) Lay out toasted bread cubes on a sheet pan to keep crisp while toasting bread in batches. Add cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, artichokes, 1/2 the cheese, and onion into a large bowl, pour dressing on top and mix well. Sprinkle toasted bread cubes on top and fold all together right before serving making sure all the bread is well coated. Shave or sprinkle remaining cheese on top. You can also cute up a head of romaine lettuce and mix it in as well if you like!

Other yummy add-ins: thinly sliced zucchini or crookneck, olives, sliced peppers, crisp bacon, toasted pine nuts, pepperoni, peppercini’s, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, arugula, spinach, Etc.

11 comments:

Mari at Once Upon a Plate said...

Hi Emily! Oh my these look so good, you have me craving Panzanella your way (and it's only 5:30 AM here!)

Thank you for sharing the recipes, I must make some soon. :)

Maria said...

I love everything about this salad! Looks amazing!

Pam said...

This is my kind of salad. I love EVERY ingredient. Both dressings sound really good but the tomato one is such a great idea - I love roasting tomatoes but never thought of making a salad dressing out of them. Can't wait to try it!

Kate said...

i agree- this is totally right up my alley! I love bread salads with good vinagerttes and lots of veggies. Num yum yum

Danke fuer ein schoenes, leckers Salat!

Lucy said...

Emily,
this salad is a favorite and this looks mighty good!! Best memories are made w/family and friends over a terrific meal ;-)

Lucy

Sara said...

Wow! This looks awesome. I've never made panzanella. By the way, I made you amazing spaghetti last night. It tasted so authentic all around. We loved the mozzarella stuffed meatballs. I am in love the the marinara sauce, and I never want to use canned spaghetti sauce again. It was brilliant. You are brilliant! Way to go! I am loving your blog, and I know that I can never go wrong with your recipes. Thanks Emily!

Sandy said...

Emily, we love your blog. Jake is wondering if he can hire you as our personal chef.

Lisa said...

What a salad! I will confess that i watched a half hour of Animal House tonight:)

hot garlic said...

Hey Emily, thanks for your comment. I've been getting a lot of that question! I just had a girl write that she tried subbing in a drink we have here called Patritti -I think it is like Grape Martinelli's. She had success!

It is never going to be the same, the wine is such a huge component of the dish, but you can try that, regular grape juice, or more stock {try doing chicken & beef!}. I think adding more stock is the safest bet.

Good luck, please let me know if you end up going for it and what you did and if it worked or not!

Great Panzenella, I honestly love the dressings. I have a reader who is always asking me to do dressings, I'll have to forward her on here!

Laura said...

You've been tagged. Come see the details on my blog.

nicole said...

I love salad and that salad looks soo yummy.