Panzanella

September 24, 2008

 

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I' m always looking for a new twist on the tomato, especially as my favorite summer fruit begins to wane. I had a request for panzanella this weekend and was delighted to find a recipe in Edible Nutmeg, the Connecticut farmer' s magazine that specializes on local food and produce. I quadrupled the recipe for a party and ended up feeding 6 people panzanella throughout the next day. I worried that the bread might go soggy overnight, but since I used especially crunchy croutons, the dilemma was avoided. (NB: quadrupling the dry ingredients did not mean I needed to make extra dressing—I still had plenty left over.) I' m offering the recipe exactly as I found it, but warning that I did not follow any of its measurements. I used all of the ingredients, but have no idea about my proportions—either way, it turned out deliciously. Use your best judgment and tweak the recipe to your tastes…I used an entire box of Feta, for example. Don' t worry about making too much, either. People passed on waffles in favor of panzenella leftovers for breakfast. (Recipe courtesy of Chef Chris Prosperi, Metro Bis, Simsbury—www.metrobis.com)

SALAD:
2 c chopped tomatoes
2 c crutons
½ c thinly sliced red onion
12 large basil leaves, chopped
½ c feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp. capers
4-6 tbsp dressing
1 head romaine heart lettuce, thinly sliced

Combine ingredients (except lettuce) in a large mixing bowl. Toss with 4 tbsp dressing to taste. Add more, if necessary. Arrange romaine lettuce on serving platter, top with tossed panzanella.

DRESSING:

1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. capers
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 large basil leaves
1 c olive oil
¼ tsp. black pepper

Place ingredients (except olive oil) in blender. When the blender is running, drizzle olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Season with black pepper and reserve. Keeps for a week in the fridge.

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