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Late Spring Panzanella

May 24, 2012

The biggest problem with my favorite single-girl “meal” of triple cream brie, baguette and truffle oil is the leftover bread. (Calories don’t count for something as delicious as triple cream brie, so no, that is not a problem.) The brie can obviously be used for a million different uses later, but baguettes go stale quickly and after the second day it’s no longer worth trying to pretend it’s still good. (Also, stale bread calories are NOT worth it.) Enter panzanella. Crisped croutons soaked in tangy vinaigrette are a very, very good use of stale bread. And note to self, panzanella is also a good solution for weeks when you go crazy at Central Market Passport to France and end up with way more produce than you can possibly eat.

Late Spring Panzanella, serves 2-4

2 cups cubed wheat bread (I used a wheat baguette and chopped it small)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small or 1/2 large shallot, sliced thinly on a mandoline
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup haricots verts, cut into 1 inch pieces (or thin green beans)
1 cup thin asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 radishes, sliced thinly on a mandoline
1/2 cup grated Cantal cheese (any mild, hard cheese would work)

juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon minced herbs (I used a combination of chives, marjoram and dill)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add bread cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and crispy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine shallots in a small bowl with vinegar, salt, sugar and about 1 cup of water. Let them sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will “quick pickle” them for a milder flavor.

Mix first four ingredients for dressing together, slowly whisk in oil. Set aside.

Steam asparagus and haricots verts for 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain and place in an ice bath for a minute to stop the cooking. Drain again.

Combine pickled shallots (drained), asparagus, haricots verts, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. If you’re preparing in advance, stop here.

When ready to compile salad, add the croutons and drizzle with dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes or more to let the dressing soak into the bread.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 1:44 pm

    Great way of using stale bread – good on you for not chucking it. That panzanella looks gorgeous.


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