Saturday, July 03, 2010

Panzenella: This was delicious

Familiarize yourself with this word, because you might be hearing it from me a lot over the next few months. "Panzanella." Panzanella, panzanella, panzanella.

Sort of sounds like a fairy tale character -- oh wait, that's Cinderella. I bet Cinderella isn't as tasty as Panzanella.

The blog Cheap Healthy Good posted this a few days ago and I immediately bookmarked it. Got the chance to make it tonight, and it was delicious. In fact, for only four of us eating, I expected that we'd have leftovers, but I have just the tiniest little bowl of leftovers. HH's second helping was basically a heaping plate full, even if he wasn't wild about the olives and left a little pile of them in the corner of his plate. I'm generally not wild about olives so I didn't use as many as the recipe called for, but I think they really added something here.

There are apparently all sorts of recipes out there for panzanella, but this is a great one to start with -- it was simple and the flavors really come together nicely. I served it with grilled shrimp and a spinach salad; I would have liked mine with a nice glass of red wine, but sparkling lemonade worked fine, too.

Do yourself a favor and make this! (Just make sure you get some good vine-ripened tomatoes or, better yet, when you start pulling tomatoes out of your garden later this summer.)

serves 4

1 loaf crusty whole wheat French or Italian Bread (about 8 cups) [MEF: I used a whole wheat loaf that we had most of leftover from dinner last night; it didn't have quite the structure of a hearty Italian loaf, but it worked)
4 tomatoes, diced (seeding is optional) [My tomatoes were small, so I used quite a few -- maybe 10 or 12?]
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (cut into ribbons)
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinaigrette (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Fill a small bowl with ice water. Soak red onions ten minutes. Drain.

3) Slice bread in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes, until crisp. Remove and let cool a little. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.

4) To a large serving bowl, add tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion, basil leaves, and olives. Pour red wine vinegar and olive oil over mixture. Stir to combine. [MEF: I let this part marinate in the fridge for several hours]

5) Add bread to bowl. Stir thoroughly to combine. Let sit 30 minutes to marinate, stirring once about halfway through. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir again. Serve immediately with vinaigrette if you like OR store it in the fridge for a day or two, then serve.


Lindsey K said...

I will be making this for dinner tomorrow! thanks for all your great recipes :)

onthefly said...

This was absolutely the best thing I've eaten this summer, so far! We'll be keeping this recipe close by as we anticipate upcoming guests in August. Oh, and I made my own mozzerella cheese for it too. Quite the experiece.