Thursday, August 14, 2008

Panzanella - A Barefoot Challenge

This week's challenge from my new group, the Barefoot Bloggers was to create a beautiful salad called Panzanella from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten. Thanks to Melissa from It's Melissa's Kitchen for such a wonderful choice. On looks alone, this salad is worth creating. The flavours are a wonderful Mediterranean mixture, and they really bounce off each other. The raw garlic in the dressing also packs a punch (I might exchange it for roasted garlic next time). Definitely notes of summer for a very cold mid-winter dinner!

I basically followed the recipe as given, although I baked my croutons in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and parsley, instead of pan-frying. I think this helps them maintain their crunch for a little longer, when they are nestling in with the vegetables and dressing. Next time, I will also flash fry the capers as I think this really lifts them. I might also add some olives...

from "Barefoot Contessa Parties"

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 3cm cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
1 hothouse unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1 cm slices
1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into 3cm cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3cm cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.


webbie said...

It looks yummy. Perfect for this side of the world and the "dog days" of summer. My guess it was a bright hint of summer for you. I love reading your blog!

Andrea said...

Your recipe notes sound wonderful, toasting the bread in the oven, flash frying the capers (I had no idea to try that), and the roasted garlic, yum!

Christine said...

Oh roasted garlic sounds wonderful! I am going to have to try flash frying the capers next time. Wonderful!

Prudy said...

Welcome! It looks wonderful and so does your chicken salad.

Veronica said...

I didn't know about flash frying the capers-I might try that next time (if I can remember to buy capers at the store that is!) Your salad looks great.

Melissa said...

Looks great and glad you enjoyed!

Courtney said...

love the idea to cook in the oven, i am going to do that next time. your salad looks delish

Anonymous said...

Such a gorgeous picture! :) Welcome to BB!!

Debinhawaii said...

Such bright pretty colors in your salad! I'll have to try the flash frying of the capers too.