Panzanella, Baby - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Panzanella, Baby

The last cou­ple of weeks have been a family-palooza for us. House guests, a week at a cot­tage with 145 (okay, it was only 14, but it's a lot, right?) peo­ple, then more house guests.… it was all lots of fun and Esme in par­tic­u­lar got addicted to time with her cousin like a junkie takes to crack. But Lord above there was a lot of food to pre­pare. Smartly, we divied up the cook­ing tasks and it was a treat to try other peo­ples' spe­cial­ties. The high­light of the week was really fan­tas­tic sushi din­ner pre­pared by Esme's three teenage and one eight year old cousins.

Our last big meal together was a sim­ple din­ner for 10 at our place, post cot­tage. We grilled some sausages on the bar­beque, and I made the water­melon salad that I posted last week as well as this bread salad. But it's more fun to call it by it's Ital­ian name: Pan­zanella! Believe me, Laura and I also think it's funny and kind of weird that I seem to be the one doing lots of Ital­ian dishes. Don't worry, we're work­ing on her Mom to bust out some fam­ily recipes soon.

The great thing about this salad is that con­trary to what you might think, it can sit for awhile as you're mak­ing other parts of din­ner — it does get a bit soggy, but you want it to. In fact, it's even great the next day for leftovers.

Pan­zanella, Baby

4 cups of slightly stale crusty bread (I used most of whole wheat baguette but you could use white if it's what you've got)
4 toma­toes roughly chopped
1 cucum­ber peeled and roughly chopped
1 yel­low pep­per
1/2 red onion finely sliced or chopped
1/2 cup pit­ted black olives (I omit­ted this as our other salad had black olives but this salad is great with them, too)
1/2 cup or so of shaved parme­san (I use a veg­etable peeler)

Dress­ing
1 cup extra vir­gin olive oil
1/2 red wine vine­gar
1/2 table­spoon dijon mus­tard
salt and pep­per to taste

Method

Toss all of the salad ingre­di­ents in your salad bowl first so that every­thing is evenly dis­trib­uted. There will be more dress­ing than you need, but you'll need more than you'd use for a reg­u­lar salad as the bread will drink it up. Keep adding the dress­ing and toss­ing and tast­ing. You want to the bread to be moist and soften but not drowned by the dressing.

Esme seems to be recov­er­ing from the with­drawal pains of life with­out her cousins (not to men­tion her Oma, Opa, Uncles and Aunts. But she's already ask­ing when we're doing it again…

  

2 Comments

  1. Derbecker says:

    Tried it. Admired it deeply. :)

  2. Ceri says:

    I'm so pleased! More impor­tantly — did the boy like it?

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