Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grilled Spring Panzanella

It's so tacky when people compliment their own cooking, isn't it? Well, I don't really care. I made a really great dinner tonight.

I made a panzanella (Italian tomato/bread salad) but with a bunch of great spring veggies and everything nicely charred on my grill pan. Then I decided I needed some protein so I added a jar of white beans from my freezer. The dressing on this salad is so tangy and delicious with the capers and red wine vinegar. But the grilled bread balances out that tang for a great plate of spring goodness.

Traditional panzanella salad recipes instruct you to let the toasted or grilled bread sit in the dressing for 30 minutes to let the flavors soak in. Since I'm non-traditional, I like to eat mine right away after tossing everything together so the bread is still crunchy.

This ingredient list looks long and intimidating, but I'm just telling you how I made it. You can add your own veggies, bread, protein (beans, grilled chicken, or maybe even canned tuna?) and vinaigrette (even bottled!) and you'll have a killer panzanella.

Grilled Spring Panzanella Salad
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 can or jar of white beans, drained
a handful of baby greens
a handful of parsley, chopped
5 slices bread (I used ciabatta)
1 zucchini, sliced into long planks
1 yellow squash, sliced into long planks
1 bunch asparagus
finely grated parmesan cheese

Whisk together: red wine vinegar, dijon, capers, salt and pepper, and olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Add the chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, olives, beans, and parsley to the vinaigrette and let sit while you grill your veggies. This will take the sharp bite out of the onion.

Drizzle the bread, zucchini, squash, and asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on high heat until charred. Chop into bite sized pieces.

Mix everything together, add a handful of baby greens for extra color, and top with finely grated parmesan cheese.

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