Thursday, August 7, 2008

Panzanella, The Salad You Want To Eat!

Romaine.  Iceberg.  Bibb.  Red leaf.  Frisee.  Micro greens.

All healthy and obvious choices upon which to build a salad.  Sure, we all know we need to eat our veggies and most of us have even grown up enough to like our veggies.  But, lets be honest, sometimes we toss a little salad together just to appease our consciences while we throw our heart and adoration behind our real meal--the steak, the spaghetti, the burrito.

Maybe we need to rethink our salads.  How to make it delicious enough to serve as the main course?  The answer is easy...swap lettuce for bread!

I know, I know, you Atkins's lovers are starting to sweat.  You who are trying to fit into your prepregnancy jeans may be feeling real pain at the mention of the word.  Some have vilified this staple for so long that you've replace the word "bread" with "evil carbohydrate", "5 hours on the treadmill", or "stretch jeans".

Well, thank the Lord for a little stretch in your jeans, because you're not going to want to miss out on this one.

Buy yourself a crusty loaf of bread, maybe a ciabatta loaf.  Slice it long ways (like you're making a giant sandwich).  Drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and a bit of pepper to your liking (both sides).  Heat your grill, place on your bread slabs, and watch closely so that it doesn't burn.  Grill both sides until they are crisp (but not as in "burnt to a crisp").  Remove the bread from the grill and let it sit for a couple of minutes.  Chop it up into bite size pieces--about 3/4 inch cubes.  Throw these into a very large bowl, then get our your chopping knife.

Chop up some onion (red or sweet), slice some cherry tomatoes in half, throw in a few kalamata olives, cucumbers if you like, even red peppers.  Choose your cheese (I like those little mozzarella balls or feta).  And you can ever throw in some prosciutto (nitrate-free, of course).  Really, you can put any darn thing you like in there, except lettuce, that is.  Who said this wasn't a veggie salad?

Then...pour on a few glugs of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.  Don't forget to season your salad with a little more salt and pepper.  Toss it all together and then TASTE IT!  Add more of any of the above until it is perfect.

Make sure you have a large (or really hungry small) crowd for this one--it doesn't keep all that great--that perfectly crisp bread gets soggy in the ref.


Usha said...

Loved this salad,yours looks delicious.Will definitely bookmark for a future try :)

Post a Comment
julie.jams' items Go to julie.jams' photostream

Food Candy