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Bright, Refreshing Dish in the Dog Days of Summer – Panzanella

In Do-it-Yourself on June 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm


In the dog days of hot, humid, but gorgeously sunny weather in Georgia – I tend to want cold flavorful dishes and foods that don’t need a lot of time in a hot sweltering kitchen.I had a lot of bright garden veggies and herbs, and unfortunately, a crusty baguette bought for a cheese party that had morphed into a rock hard baton worthy of doing some major organ damage if I ever decided to use that thing as a weapon.

I was hot and hungry, so I made some Panzanella – a Tuscan provencial summer dish that makes use of those once-crackling pieces of chewy bread, and your summer bounty of colorful and water-rich produce (you may have noticed a trend in my recent posts of summer dishes because it’s just too hot lately – Garden Squash and Green Tomato Bake and Vietnamese Spring Rolls).

Simply dice up tomatoes, cucumbers (cut out the seeds), and chop some herbs and the stale bread you have on hand. Mix with extra virgin olive and season with kosher salt and cracked pepper, and minced garlic (or garlic powder may work). You can add yellow bell peppers or other veggies for additional crunch and color, and even red wine vinegar if you have any, but the tomatoes I had provided enough tartness, so I didn’t add any. Grate some white cheese of your preference: Pecorino, Romano, Parmigiano- Reggiano, Gruyere, etc.

Combine – you can even be a little heavy handed with your spoon (or bare hand) to crush some of the tomatoes. Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Between the juices and oil, the bread will soak up all the flavors and juices – which makes this a satisfying meal on a hot day. For an all encompassing meal, you can put in shrimp or chicken, or lentils/beans if you’re vegetarian. Deliziosa!

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