Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Panzanella

I'm back from my blogging break! I had a great trip to Oregon and was so lucky to be at the most beautiful wedding of two amazing friends. Here's a glimpse of the view from the ceremony site...

And there was a PIE TABLE. Brilliant, right? Check out this cute pie made by my friend Caitlin:

And the whole pie table!

Anyway, it's good to be home but kind of tough to face reality after all that amazingness. Luckily we came home to a pile of huge tomatoes from my parents' garden! There's nothing better than a homegrown tomato at its peak, so I made panzanella - an Italian bread based salad. It's very simple, basically just some slightly stale or toasted bread with tomatoes, a vinaigrette, and some herbs. I added a few other things to spruce it up, too - it's very easily adaptable!

Summer Panzanella - serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish:
1/2 of a large loaf of bread (ciabatta works well), cut into cubes. 
3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, cut into small pieces
1/2 large cucumber or 1 whole small one, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
A few handfuls of lettuce
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Optional: a few slices of bacon or pancetta, torn into pieces

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

If your bread is a bit stale and crunchy, then just cut it up into roughly 1 inch cubes. If it's a fresh loaf, cut it into cubes, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and  bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes, until the cubes start to brown. The bread will absorb some of the tomato juice and vinaigrette later, so if it's not a little crunchy to begin with then it will completely turn to mush.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and pour it over the top, combining again to distribute the vinaigrette.

I like to let the whole thing sit for a few minutes before digging in, just to let all the flavors soak in.

Poppy gained a few pounds while we were away, can you tell?! She's on a very strict diet now...

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