I simply love a dish that is not only beautiful, delicious, and flexible, but that also uses food that might otherwise be thought of as past it’s prime. Consider the lovely and frugal Panzanella Salad. She will gladly showcase your stale bread and wilty herbs, and you could even oven roast a subpar tomato for this one if necessary. The only ingredients that must be excellent are the mozzarella and olive oil. Really! And did I mention you don’t need to turn on the stove? Get on it while the tomatoes are still at your farmer’s market!
Feeds about 2-4
2 Big slices of good, stale country type bread, cut or torn into bite sized pieces (you can also dry your bread out in the oven, but that means turning your stove on!)
2 cups of tomatoes of all types, cut to a similar size as the bread
6-8 small mozzarella balls (bocconcini) , sliced into rounds
1/2 cup finely diced onion (red or white) covered in red wine vinegar to soak for 10-15 minutes
1 cup of peeled and seeded cucumber, cut into small half rounds
1 clove garlic, grated, minced or smashed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup EVOO (your very best!)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, toss together the bread, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Drain the onion, reserving the vinegar, and add that to the mixture. Now, either using a whisk and bowl, or handy small food processor type machine, make the dressing, using the garlic, mustard, oregano, 1/4 cup of reserved vinegar, and EVOO. Mix the dressing into the salad (I use my hands and will say this is the best way to toss and dress every salad!). Add the remaining ingredients and let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes. If it’s hot as hell outside, I sometimes even chill this for an hour (a crime in some peoples books). Serve it on a bed of greens if you like.