(No Longer) Summer Panzanella Salad
|September 18, 2011||Posted by Ashley Marie under Apps & Small Bites, Food, Salads|
Finally, my beloved summer has come to an end. As I continue to peruse through Charlotte’s many farmer’s markets, still filled with beautiful heirlooms, deep red cherries, and sweet peaches, I begin to go into a state of denial, refusing to believe that this month of September, brimming with its 80 degree days, is anything but summer.
Lucky for you, I’m stilling grilling out, still using summer vegetables, still concocting summer-y sweet cocktails.
So while your local market still has some plump heirlooms available, take advantage. A grilled Panzanella salad (an Italian bread and tomato salad) is the perfect appetizer (or even light lunch!), especially when paired with a simple and refreshing cocktail that transcends you back to the warm and sunny days that makes the summer one of the best times of the year. Because, let’s face it: You don’t want fully admit that the cold weather is soon to come, and neither do I.
Serves about 6
This salad is meant to be rustic, allowing you cut, chop or tear any of the ingredients to the size of your preference.
3 lb. ripe heirloom tomatoes, assorted colors and sizes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade OR torn into 1” pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, julienned
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 ea. lemon, juiced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half lengthwise
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 10-12oz. loaf of Sourdough bread (or any rustic bread), sliced to 3/4” thick slices
1 ea. garlic clove, halved
1. Slice tomatoes in different sizes, such as wedges and cubes. Place in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes to drain.
2. While the tomatoes drain, fire up a medium-hot gas or charcoal grill. If using an indoor grill or grill pan, heat to medium-high. Brush the bread slices with some of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread on both sides until there are nicely charred grill marks. Rub the garlic cloves onto the grilled edges of the bread. Tear the bread into 1”-2” pieces and set aside.
3. Place the tomatoes into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Toss in the bread pieces only when ready to serve.
Makes 2 drinks
8 oz. sweet tea
8 oz. lemonade
4 oz. vodka (can substitute rum)
1 ea. lemon, sliced
1 ea. blood orange, sliced
6 ea. raspberries
10 ea. mint leaves
1. Muddle the lemon, orange, raspberries, mint and vodka into a glass or mason jar.
2. Add the sweet tea and lemonade and stir.
3. Top with ice, garnish with a lemon slice and serve.