As you guys know, I’ve been all about summer these past few days because I’m taking it off for some R & R and exploration into new things. One of the things on my to-do list for this first week of my 98 days of summer, was to search out some lighter, fresh recipes that used summer’s harvests and wouldn’t have me slaving over the stove for more than a few minutes.
This Greek Style Panzanella, from Ina, is just the kind of thing I was hoping for. It definitely made the list for a favorite summer recipe. Hubby and I reallllllllly loved this. It is such a refreshing mouthful of summer flavors. I’m just crazy about the feta and olives in here too. The feta in particular is a nice tangy contrast to the sweetness of the peppers and tomatoes. And the bread adds such a great texture to it all.
Would you like to try it too? I highly recommend it Here’s how I put it together:
First things first: Browning the bread. Dice up a nice rustic loaf of bread into 1 inch pieces. Place it into a large skillet (over medium heat) that’s been coated with a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle the bread with some salt and pepper and toss it frequently for a few minutes….
Here’s the veggies and the preparation you’ll need to make this pretty salad: 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, both seeded and diced into bite-sized pieces; 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and halved lengthwise, then sliced into 1/2 inch thick half rounds; 1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced; and finally, a pint of cherry tomatoes that all need to be sliced in half. Put them all into a large bowl.
Once the veggies are all prepped and ready to go make your vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. If you do this, YOUR vinaigrette will be much prettier than mine. Why? Because I used white wine vinegar and ground oregano. Poor planning on my part. I was so wrapped up in my 98 days of summer plans that I messed up the grocery list. Ok, I flat out forgot those two ingredients. But as ugly as it is, it was still incredibly flavorful and satisfying. This vinaigrette is so good! I will definitely be using it in other salads.
…and lightly toss it all together. Now, a little patience is necessary while you let your gorgeous panzanella rest for 30 minutes at room temperature – all those flavors need a little time to get to know each other.
At the end of the 30 minutes, taste to see if it needs some salt (mine needed just a pinch), then, dive in and enjoy this refreshing bowl of summer! If you were here, I’d share because it made quite a bit more than the two of us can handle in one meal. I’ll be making this again this summer…..to enjoy on the patio…with some lemonade….while I get into my R & R….
What is your favorite summer dish to prepare? Which summer vegetable is your favorite? I think I love them all
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!
Greek Style Panzanella Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten, in her cookbook Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? (pretty darn easy Ina, thanks!)
Ina also has a similar recipe at The Food Network
For the croutons:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cups rustic bread, diced into 1 inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved length-wise, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, large diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, large diced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
- 1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Set aside.
Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.
Add the feta, olives and bread to the vegetables in the bowl. Add the vinaigrette and lightly toss. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve at room temperature.