By the time summer rolls around, Alan and I abandon most heated meals and opt for hearty, yet light salads. This year, we’re still in the midst of winter and we’re already reaching for out favorite recipes. I recently came across this Panzanella Salad recipe and had to try it during our first heat wave a couple of weeks back. It’s flavorful because of the vinaigrette, light and fresh thanks to the abundance of veggies, and the french bread adds just enough heartiness. It’s filling for dinner alfresco, plus there’s enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse 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 tbls capers, drained
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. For the vinaigrette, whisk all of the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the salad to sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend and serve.