April 19, 2013

panzanella salad

bowl-finalI am new to bread salad, and to be honest, the idea has always thrown me off a little bit. The idea of bread and dressing can be unappetizing, but then again, who doesn’t love croutons? But when I saw this recipe (and who are we kidding, the pictures alone made my stomach growl), I was very intrigued to try it out.

My mom would say panzanella is more of a summer salad, but hell, if we can’t get summer any sooner, let’s at least pretend.

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INGREDIENTS

1 small red onion, sliced thin
half loaf of day-old ciabatta bread
olive oil
1/2 garlic clove
1 1/2 c cherry and/or pear tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 c ricotta salata cheese, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (I used fresh mozzarella)
5 or 6 basil leaves, torn
1/4 c toasted pine nuts

Dressing
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp champagne vinegar (or white or red wine vinegar)
squeeze of lemon juice (1-2 tbsp, to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste
a few pinches of red pepper flakes

PREPARATION

Slice bread into 1/2-inch thick slices, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a few pinches of salt and grill both sides until lightly charred. Remove bread from grill and rub it it with the sliced side of the garlic clove while the bread is still warm. Chop the bread into cubes and set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl toss the bread cubes, tomatoes, onion slices, ricotta salata, and basil together with the dressing. Top with toasted pine nuts and a few more red pepper flakes.

Allow the salad to sit for 15-20 minutes for the dressing to soak into the bread. Taste and adjust seasonings.