6 hours ago
Thursday, May 29, 2014
It's almost tomato time in New Jersey! I can't wait.
I am growing 10 varieties of heirlooms (Hair Looms) in the MCG.
But in the meantime, I needed a big panzanella salad for a party last weekend.
A traditional panzanella is a salad made w/ stale bread, garden ripe tomatoes, onions and a full bodied vinaigrette.
The dressing soaks up the bread and it's a wonderful summer salad, especially w/ cucumbers thrown in.
You can use fresh mozzarella or burrata, or not, but the cheese always wins.
I decided since red bell peppers were on sale for .79 a lb. (unheard of), I would roast a big batch and make a pseudo panzanella w/ the peppas and add in sopressata (an Italian salumi). Yum.
This was definitely a great version.
I'm adding this to the summer salad rotation, you should too.
Panzanella w/ Roasted Peppers & Salumi: (makes enough for a big party platter)
1/2 loaf of Italian bread, torn into chunks
3 balls of fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese, torn
1/2 lb. of good quality salami, I like sopressata
4 red peppers roasted (method here), and sliced
1/4 cup of Gaeta olives
1 small red onion, sliced thin
fresh basil leaves
Let the bread lay out on a baking sheet at room temperature so it gets stale. You can do this a day in advance, or if you are in a hurry, you can toast up the cubes on a baking sheet at 375F for 15 minutes.
Make a vinaigrette:
I use 4 tbsp red wine vinegar (you can also use balsamic), 1/3 cup of good olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, sea salt & pepper. Whisk and taste to adjust seasonings.
Let the onion slices sit in the vinaigrette for at least 15 minutes, this takes the sting out of them, and almost pickles them.
Starting with the bread first, arrange all the salad components on a large oval platter, draping the salumi over the mozzarella, then the peppers, tucking everything in, including the onions, making a sort of layered salad, ending with the scattered olives.
Pour the dressing over the salad an hour or two before serving.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and drizzle w/ more olive oil just before serving.
Serve at room temperature.