Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Salad Pt. 1: Panzanella

For those of you who think (as I do) that you really, really don't want to boil water on an already-boiling day, the answer, plainly, is salad. And not just any salad but a bread salad!

There are two salads I've made recently that went down (so to speak) really well, one for fairly warm weather, the other for blazing hot. Considering it's nearly July, here's the blazing hot one:


First, get some tomatoes and chop them half - little cherry ones, ones on a vine, heritage yellow ones if you want - and some basil (though a bit of mint w/your standard 'fancy' salad will do just as well in a pinch). Then get some bread - stale* says the normal recipe, but if the idea of 'stale' bread is just too long a wait, simply toast your bread, cool it and then cut it up into reasonably-sized pieces. The only 'cooking' as such you need to do here, if you wish, is in one pan, for pancetta/bacon. You may also want to have a bit of oil/vinegar dressing on hand to unify things here, not to mention cucumbers, which work wonders, as does some mozzarella. Toss it all in a big bowl and then tuck in; there are no hard-fast rules here, save that everything has to be fresh and Mediterranean (the salad is originally from Sicily, which means if you want to put raisins or capers in, be my guest). Giada uses cornbread in hers, which sounds v. good, though the concept of 'leftover cornbread' in my household is pretty much inconceivable.

*The bread should be stale enough to soak up the tomato and cucumber and dressing without becoming soggy immediately.