Newsflash: summer in the Carolinas is hot. (Shocking, I know.)
I’ve huddled in the A/C, lounged in the pool, and stashed away our blow dryers for the moment. I’ve stayed away from the oven and microwave. But a girl’s gotta eat, right?
Cue panzanella. An Italian bread salad, it’s mostly fresh (meaning: no-cook) veggies, with homemade croutons that you chop and toast yourself. The ingredient list itself isn’t that spectacular, but it’s the amazing vinaigrette makes this truly mouth-watering. After I made this for Kendra, she declared she had turnt on store-bought croutons and only wanted the fresh kind from here on out. They’re that good. I love using the Rosemary Olive Oil loaf I find at Harris Teeter, but you can sub in any bakery bread that you like. It’s hard to make fresh bread toasted in olive oil and salt taste bad, amirite?
The veggies and bread make this hearty enough for a main dish, but you could always add white beans if you need a little more oomph. It’ll be a hit as a side dish at potlucks and cookouts, too. Trust.
Summer Panzanella with Rosemary Sourdough Croutons
- 3 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 loaf rosemary olive oil sourdough bread, like La Brea , cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large , ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 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
- 20 large basil leaves , coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers , drained (we generally toss the entire jar in if it's small...)
- 1 15 oz can white beans drained
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 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. (You may need to toast the bread in smaller batches so that there's just a single layer of bread at a time. Toast 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. This recipe makes great leftovers, as it just continues to get better the longer the veggies marinate in the vinaigrette. Enjoy! *adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's recipe
Tune in next Thursday (the 13th) as Kendra and I whip this up on Charlotte Today!