August 30, 2012

Summer Panzanella

I first made this panzanella (bread salad) 2 years ago. Somehow I missed making it last year, and it has haunted me ever since. This salad is gorgeous with bright colors, but also so delicious. I used some homemade whole-wheat bread from my freezer, but it would have been better if the loaf was a little stale so the bread would have crisped up a little more.

Summer Panzanella
from Smitten Kitchen

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule or sturdy whole-wheat loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers (try not to use green) seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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 together the ingredients.

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 immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

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