Thursday, October 06, 2011

for Andy

We're just a couple weeks out of tomato season.  If you HAD to, you could probably find a yummy one somewhere in town - maybe lingering in your garden.  It just might take some searching.

And sometimes you crave tomato dishes even if it's not tomato season.  For us Michiganders, that's about 11 months out of the year. 

Last weekend I had to bring a potluck dish to a party, and I had not left myself enough time for something wildly creative.  I did, however, have a few pounds of end-of-season tomatoes ripening on my kitchen counter.  So like a good Italian girl, I threw together a panzanella, or bread salad.  In the peak of tomato season, all you need is rustic italian bread, perfect tomatoes, olive oil and salt.

But because I knew my tomatoes were a little weak, I added a few other flavor punches.

End of Season Panzanella
Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a large fry pan.  Toast both sides of six pieces of thick italian bread in pan until dark brown.  Dice bread into one inch cubes. Sprinkle toasted cubes liberally with kosher salt while still hot.   Set aside to cool.

Roughly chop 8-10 medium sized tomatoes that have been hulled.

Add the following to the tomatoes in a large bowl:
  • One half red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons salt-cured capers, rinsed
  • 4 thinly sliced radishes 
  • one cup of oil cured sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped (add the oil in too!)
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned basil, spinach, or spring mix (use anything leafy and green you have in the fridge)
  • One large ball of mozzarella, diced
Add 3-4 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs balsamic vinegar to veg mixture.  Season with salt, to taste 1-2 teaspoons,  and one teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Taste.  Add more salt and pepper,  if desired. Toss gently until combined. 

Add cooled toasted bread cubes to vegetable mixture.  Depending on juices of tomatoes and other vegetables, more olive oil and vinegar might be needed.  Taste to determine whether you need more seasoning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i'm at school, it's 8:20 in the morning... kids about to walk in the door.... and i'm salivating.
i want a big bowl of this, rather than the roll of Goya maria cookies i just shoved down my throat. <3 Sister <3 me