Panzanella

Panzanella
Yields 4
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For the croutons
  1. 1 loaf French bread, torn into 1-inch cubes
  2. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  3. 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
For the vinaigrette
  1. 1 garlic clove, minced
  2. 1 shallot, minced
  3. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  4. 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  5. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  6. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. Freshly ground kosher salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
  1. 3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  2. 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  3. 2 bell peppers, diced into ½-inch pieces (for a pretty plate use all colors – green, yellow, orange, and red.)
  4. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  5. 1 cup basil leaves, torn
Instructions for the croutons
  1. Heat oven to 300°. Place a baking sheet in the oven with the butter on it and let the butter melt as the oven heats. Remove pan from oven, add the olive oil, then quickly toss the bread cubes in the pan to coat with the butter and oil. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Bake until croutons are light brown and crunchy, about 25 minutes.
Instructions for the vinaigrette
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients, then gradually whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season to taste.
Assemble the salad
  1. Combine salad ingredients. Pour vinaigrette over top and toss to coat. Let mixture sit at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the juicier it gets. Taste test and season with freshly ground kosher salt and pepper. Add in the croutons, toss to coat, and enjoy summer at its finest.
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