Thursday, July 4, 2013

BTB: Panzanella Salad

During the summer fresh produce is definitely in abundance.  I always try to serve well balanced meals to may family, and during the summer I try to utilize as much fresh produce as possible.  We have a garden in our back yard so I'm definitely spoiled and I try to take advantage of all the fresh veggies that are at my fingertips during the summer months.  From appetizers, to sides and even main courses, I try to use as many fresh veggies as possible.
Panzanella salad is a terrific side that is perfect for those warm, summer days.  It's also a great way to utilize those fresh herbs and veggies that are right outside my back door.  This salad is one of those things that can be made for a main course, but is perfect for a side.  It takes no time to assemble and the recipe can be adjusted to serve both large crowds or a family of 4.  It's so versatile, that's another reason I love it.
This particular recipe is a basic recipe comprised of a few simple ingredients.  But it's also easily customizable and there are so many variations ranging for the basic to a salad that has grilled veggies and bread.  This basic recipe has tomatoes, onions, bread, fresh mozzarella and basil and it's all tossed together in oil.  A few simple flavors that when combined make a delicious, flavorful and fresh salad.  We enjoyed this most recently with some grilled chicken, but it also makes a great side for steaks, kabobs, pork and numerous other options.  Not only was this a hit with Spencer, but I even found Tucker diving in and going back for seconds and thirds.  This recipe is proven to be a pleaser for people of all ages and a great way to allow the fresh, seasonal veggies and herbs to shine. 

Panzanella Salad

1 Day old baguette
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups grape tomatoes
1/4 Cup red onion
1 Medium cucumber, skinned, seeded and chopped
3-4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 Tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/8-1/4 Cup canola oil


Preheat oven to 350.  Cut baguette in half, lengthwise.  Spread butter evenly on each slice of bread, place on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven.  Bake bread until lightly toasted, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Cut bread into cubes and transfer to a medium bowl.

Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber and basil to the bowl with the bread and toss to combine.  Drizzle with part of the canola oil and toss to coat.  Add more oil, if desired (you want everything to be coated but not drenched), season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original 

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