Thursday, September 20, 2012

A kind of panzanella

It was a warm evening in September, here in TX. While the tomatoes are over, I was able to find some nice cherry toms and yellow small tomatoes at the store. Madame likes to use our home grown basil and bread in salads, so here is a variant on panzanella. It uses the bread in 2 ways - one mixed in to soak up all the juices and the other as a large crostini for display and crunch. The beer served with this is the excellent DuPont Saison.

There's a handy tip for slicing tomatoes and olives here


10oz mixed small (cherry sized) tomatoes, sliced in half
6 oz pitted mixed greek olives
2T rinsed and drained capers
2 cloves garlic, sliced finely
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup whole basil leaves (divided use)
4 large slices of bread, grilled (or toasted)
High quality olive oil (drizzling)
Large crystals of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
a couple of ounces of Pecorino Romano, shaved from a larger piece using a vegetable peeler.


Halve the tomatoes and olives. Place in a gallon zip lock bag. Add the capers, garlic and all but 12 leaves of the basil chiffonaded. Add the orange juice Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend.
When ready to serve, grill the bread slices (or toast then if you prefer). Cut 2 of the slices into croutons, halve each of the other 2. Mix the croutons into the olive/tomato mixture and allow to stand for a few minutes - to soak up the juice.
Place the halved toast on the plate, and pile the olive/tomato mixture over most of the toast, leaving some of the toast uncovered so that it remailns crunchy and acts as a handle.
Drizzle the olive oil over the salad, decorate with the remaining basil leaves and a few grinds of pepper. Sprinkle large sea salt crystals for crunch. Arrange the sliced Pecorino Romano on top and serve.


There were only 2 of us eating this as a main course. There was about 1/3rd of the olive/tomato mixture left over for a lunch time salad today.



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