I walked into the house Tuesday evening after my jog to this…
“Crunch. Crunch, crunch, crunch.”
“What are you eating?”
“ch… mmm… nuphen”
“Honnnney! What are you eating?”
“Ummm… a snack. Crunch, crunch, crunch.”
I walked into the kitchen to find The Husband’s bum sticking out of the refrigerator while he was standing inside it eating our dinner.
“You know that’s for dinner, right?”
“Hmm.. crunch, crunch. Good. I can have more then.”
“I take it you like it?”
“Crunch, crunch… ummhmmm…”
The Husband ate at least half the bowl of panzanella salad before we sat down for dinner. There was slight confusion because I always keep fresh cut veggies in the refrigerator for snacking. Granted, it’s not often that I find The Husband greedily stuffing his face with veggies… it’s a snack, so we just grab a couple carrot sticks or celery sticks and walk on.
I’m not a fan of soggy bread and I didn’t want to risk ruining my salad with wet bread… so I did something different (sort of). I made a bruschetta of sorts with my salad. The Husband, who loves croutons wanted his mixed in with the salad. I made it both ways and used a white balsamic vinegar instead of champagne vinegar. I swear Ina, I tried, but they have things in the Hamptons that most people don’t have on grocery shelves… we have to improvise.
This salad was beyond delicious. I didn’t halve the recipe even though my trusty cookbook told me this recipe feeds 12, The Husband and I will polish off any vegetable… I didn’t realize it would all be eaten (I have about 1/2 c left) in one night. The salad was perfect for a warm summer night (95 degrees at 9:30 p.m. the other night with a heat index of 114 during the day… I love Kansas!)
Go make the salad. Put the bread in, or put it on the side to add when you sit down to eat. You won’t be sorry.
Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
3 T olive oil
1 small French Boule (I used a 3 cheese Semolina loaf)
1 t kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into cubes (I halved a package of cherry tomatoes)
1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise then into 1/2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 of a red onion, cut in half, then thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 T capers, drained
(I added a handful of fresh parsley as well)
1 t finely minced garlic
1/2 t Dijon mustard (I used 2 t)
3 T champagne vinegar (I used white balsamic)
1/2 c olive oil
Salt & Pepper (about 1 t of each)
Either follow the instructions for making croutons, or drizzle some olive oil over sliced bread and bake at 350 degrees until toasted.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
I didn’t mix in the croutons to either of our salads, I toasted the bread… left mine sliced and cubed The Husbands.
We topped our salad with a little (for me) and a lot (for The Husband) of fresh pulled mozzarella cheese.
**UPDATE: Like an idiot, I wasn’t paying attention to the date this dish was due to post… so I posted last week, yanked it off and reposted today. Since then, I have grown to absolutely adore anything sorbet. I had a couple over-ripe mangos that I churned last night and it was to.die.for.
The Husband has requested that I make this salad again when the in-laws are here… so if any of you have suggestions, please, please, please feel free to let me know. I think The Husband wants me to make it again so he can eat it all… again.