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Barefoot! Panza-schetta

August 14, 2008

I walked into the house Tuesday evening after my jog to this…

“Crunch.  Crunch, crunch, crunch.”  
“Honey?”
“Crun…hmm?”
“What are you eating?”
“ch… mmm… nuphen”
“Crunch.”
“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.  
“Honey?”
“Hmmm?”
“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.

It’s Barefoot Bloggers week again and Melissa, of Melissa’s Kitchen didn’t disappoint.  She chose Panzanella from Barefoot Contessa Parties.  What a perfect summer dish!  Thanks Melissa!

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.

The Husband's

The Husband's

 

Mine

Mine

Panzanella
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)
Dressing:
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. 

For desert, head over to Prudy’s and whip up some of this fabulous vanilla/raspberry ice cream and raspberry sorbet.

**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.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2008 07:10

    I have to say, well hello YUM! That looks so great and I will be taking you up on the advise….making it once the husband returns :D.

    Not sure on the sorbet, never tried making anything of that nature, but it sure as day looked awesome too…

    You are making me both hungry and fat just reading about it!!! That salad will never last in my house either…..gone in one fell swoop, I may have to just double it to have it left for lunch the next day….and the mozzarella, again, YUM!!!

    Can you tell I have not had breakfast yet? 😀

    Have a great day!

  2. August 14, 2008 07:18

    Yours looks fantastic with the crumbled cheese on top! I want to eat a bite right now. We made ours while visiting the in-laws but wished the husband and I had the whole bowl to ourselves!

  3. August 14, 2008 07:39

    I added crumbled cheese to ours too! Big hit in my house. Love the bruschetta ones, going to serve that to my company this weekend! Great job!

  4. August 14, 2008 08:21

    Your cheese addition looks great! I had a hard time not eating the whole salad as I made it! Great idea to serve it as a bruschetta.

  5. August 14, 2008 08:23

    Hooray, it’s back and looking better than ever! 🙂
    Good idea to make it for the in laws.

  6. August 14, 2008 08:57

    It looks great! I like the addition of the cheese. Is that feta? Goat cheese?

  7. August 14, 2008 09:16

    ASW- I promise you won’t be disappointed… and it’s actually quite healthy for our wonderful men in uniform!
    Kirsten- I’m going to make this again next week. I can’t wait!
    Brenda- We used fresh water-packed mozzarella and just pulled a little to put on top.

  8. August 14, 2008 10:40

    I couldn’t find champagne vinegar either, I would like to have some for the arsenal though, I mean pantry.
    Your salad looks so colourful and fresh. My hubby loved it too. He was military in his youth – 25 years ago (eep, where does the time go?) Before you do the math, I’m not quite his age!
    This recipe is indeed a keeper and fairly guilt free, great idea to add the fresh mozarella.

  9. nbbride06 permalink
    August 14, 2008 11:51

    LOVE the conversation! The bread doesn’t get soggy at all…try it next time!

  10. August 14, 2008 11:52

    Holy hot! It gets hot over there in Kansas!

    I love your bruschetta idea!! Your salad looks beautiful with all those veggies! We couldn’t stop eating ours either. I’m making it again this weekend.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! : )

  11. cookingupafamily permalink
    August 14, 2008 12:52

    i like both your interpretations of the salad. they look wonderful. too cute about your husband eating some before dinner.

    I live in on the MO/KS border and I sure hate the hot weather, glad it hasn’t been too bad this last week.

  12. August 14, 2008 16:56

    Cooking up:
    I know. The rain earlier this morning was a blessed relief! I hope the weather is nice in Omaha this weekend… we’re headed up for the airshow.
    ~Cat

  13. August 14, 2008 18:23

    I was thinking that the only thing this salad lacked was fresh cheese! Mmm yours looks great!

  14. August 15, 2008 00:30

    Was this salad just the best ever? I so love your salad. . .with the salad on top of the bread slices. Very nice and the addition of cheese. . .YUM! I wish I had thought of that. I will next time because my hubby was bonkers for this salad too. Although he didn’t have his head stuck in the refrigerator like yours did =D, very funny!

  15. August 15, 2008 00:32

    I forgot to add that the basil in my salad was what the grocery store had as fresh. Nothing special but I agree, the leaves were exceptionally big. Tasty though =).

  16. August 15, 2008 03:14

    Wow–the mozarella looks so good on it! I may have to make it again this weekend.

  17. August 15, 2008 18:21

    What a smart take on the salad! I love adaptable recipes like this one. And wow… yours looks delicious!

  18. August 17, 2008 20:46

    Oh yum! Your panzanella looks amazing, makes me want to make it all over again. I love the mozzarella. That is so nice that you and your husband both really enjoyed it 🙂

  19. August 18, 2008 20:26

    Everything looks fantastic. That sorbet… mmmmmm!

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