Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Panzanella

This is going to sound horrible, but it took me until this morning to finally make it to the summer farmer's market in my neighborhood.  The past few Saturdays, I've been too quick to cook up an excuse: too many errands to do, gotta clean the house, going to visit Grandma, too hot, too rainy, yadda yadda, etc. etc.  I deserve to be arrested by the summer police.

Anyway, I finally made it!  I was so overwhelmed by the mid-summer bounty that I dove right in like a hungry pelican and came out with a beak-full of peak-season veggies.  Given the randomness of my selection, I decided a salad would serve this hodge-podge well and, with the addition of a fresh loaf of sourdough from Hot Bread Kitchen, I was ready for some panzanella.  Here's what you do:

Tear a 1 pound loaf of crusty bread (like sourdough) into bite-size pieces, spread out on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and toast in a 400 degree oven for 7 minutes, until slightly crispy (you're not going for croutons).  Dump into a large salad bowl and set aside.  Take your smattering of market vegetables - tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, scallion, corn, whatever - and chop into desired bite-size shapes.  Add to your bowl of toasted bread.  Wash and tear a handful of basil leaves and throw those in as well.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup good olive oil, more salt and pepper, and pour over the bread and veggies.  Toss well and serve immediately, preferably on a terrace in the sun...

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