For a long time, I have wanted to make Panzanella (bread salad). I know I've mentioned it to SP, but he's never shown much interest and I haven't pushed it because of what it is: Bread. Carbs. Not a super friendly dish for a Type 1 diabetic.
Normally he'd counter with a request to use brown bread and while I like some brown breads, they're just not what I want when it comes to something like panzanella.
To my surprise, when I suggested it last week, he agreed, Originally we were going to buy a Mediterra bread, but then we decided that if we were going to cube, toast, and then soak the bread in vinaigrette, well, we didn't really need a pricey bread. We settled for a loaf of Cellone's Italian bread.
We both really liked this. It was a terrific dish on the hot & humid days. Lots of vegetables. Tangy dressing. And giant, freshly toasted bread cubes.
When trying to figure out dinner for the week and browsing through recipes, I was inspired by the Mix & Match Bead Salad recipe from Food Network Magazine, but for something like this, you really do not need a recipe.
Here's what I did:
Ingredients (for 1 dinner for us):
- 4 cup square Ziploc container filled with 1 inch cubes of bread, slightly smushed in but not packed in
- about 20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, then salted & peppered
- 1/3 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (I like to turn the slices into half moons)
- 1 red pepper, roasted and chopped
- 2 handfuls baby arugula, roughly chopped
- 1/3 of one log of goat cheese from Costco, crumbled
- as much fresh basil as you can spare from your newly transplanted basil plants, chopped (chiffonade)
Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes (also depends on how crunchy you want your bread cubes, we liked 8-9 minutes). I was going to give the cubes a toss halfway through, but then I forgot and they toasted just fine without a tossing.
Put all ingredients in bowl. Add desired amount of dressing (about 1/3 of it). Toss to coat. Adjust salt & pepper. Serve.
Dressing recipe here. We made a full batch and got 3 dinners from it.