Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Ciao Bella Panzanella
Translation ~ Hello Beautiful Bread Salad!!
Yesterday I woke up feeling like crap. Not only did someone break out the window of my broken car I was going to try to sell, to steal my broken CD player, but I had a little too much Saki at sushi dinner the night before. Whose brilliant idea was it to pair alcohol with raw fish? That's not drinking food! That's a hangover waiting to happen! Needless to say, for lunch I ate the heck out of some Mexican food to relieve the headache. So for dinner, I needed something light and semi-healthy to get me back on track for my weekend at the Lake.
I was inspired by a show I saw on Food Network, Barefoot Contessa, where I first learned about Panzanella. Basically, Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that consists of pretty much anything you have on hand. Usually it has tomato, onion, bread, basil, oil and vinegar. But there are many variations. Here's how I made mine:
First I took a loaf of Italian boule and cut it into 1 inch chunks. Then I put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and added the bread with some salt (I use Kosher salt...I like it so much better than table salt). While the bread browns (make sure you stir it often), I cut up tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and red onion and tossed it all in a bowl with some salt & pepper, a tiny bit of olive oil and a tiny bit of vinegar. Forgive my lack of measurement. Just do it to your taste. If you don't like vinegar, don't use much. I personally can drink olive oil out of the bottle, so I use a little more when I cook the bread than most might.
Once the bread is to your desired level of crunch (again, do what you like, I like my bread to be cut-the-inside-of-my-mouth crunchy) add it on top of your veggies. Top with some shaved Parmesan and you've got yourself a delicious Italian bread salad.