Thursday, June 9, 2011


We impulse-bought a loaf of nice Italian bread one evening last week because we got some great olive oil and wanted to have an excuse to sop it up. The next day, the half we hadn't eaten was rock-hard, so we made this panzanella to use it up. I have always been wary of panzanella and fattoush, a Middle Eastern bread salad, because I don't like soggy bread. One of the only dishes Jon has made that I have disliked to the point of not eating it was a gazpacho that was thickened with bread. Yuck! (I'm not wild about cold soup anyway, which I probably should have mentioned when he suggested a gazpacho. I want to like gazpacho, but I just prefer my soups hot.) But last year, my friend Bridget brought a panzanella to a potluck, and I really liked it, so when life handed me really stale bread, I decided to try it.

I used the dressing recipe that Bridget did, which was Ina Garten's, but I improvised the rest of the ingredients. The dressing called for raw garlic, which I usually shy away from, but it was alright. I might try sauteing the garlic next time to take the edge off. This was a nice light supper, and we managed to eat the whole thing. I don't think leftover panzanella would be good.

Panzanella (source: Ina Garten, via my friend)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch salt
Ground pepper to taste
Dried basil, thyme, and oregano, to taste

1/2 loaf stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 Kalamata olives, halved
2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled

Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. A few minutes before you want to eat, dress the salad and stir it around to distribute. Let it sit for a few minutes, then serve.

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