Greek-style Panzanella Salad
4 oz (about a 5" long chunk) French or other day-old bread
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 large cucumber, cut into chunks
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
4 stalks asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-2" pieces
8 kalamata olives (which I forgot to add until after I took the pic :)
Lemon basil vinaigrette:
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp fresh basil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or to desired consistency/taste
Make the vinaigrette first so the flavors can meld as you are prepping the rest of the salad.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes max. Immediately put asparagus into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
Cut bread into 1" pieces. I decided to leave about half the crust on, but that's your call. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the EVOO and the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bread and a pinch of salt. Toss the bread around to coat with the oil and cook until browned, about 6 or 7 minutes (alternatively you could spray/drizzle the bread with the oil and bake in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes). Remove the garlic.
Toss asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers and feta and toasted bread with vinaigrette and serve.
Lemon-basil vinaigrette:Most vinaigrettes recipes call for anywhere from a 1:2 to a 1:4 ratio of vinegar to oil. However, I really love a tangy, acidic vinaigrette so I tend to go for the exact opposite. The added bonus is there is less fat :) Combine garlic, basil, lemon juice and vinegar into a food process. Pulse until garlic and basil are in small pieces. Stream in olive oil until desired consistency.
Pairs Well With
This is a great way to use up day or two day old bread. This makes two very generous servings (we ate this with about 3 oz. flank steak per person) or 4 smaller servings.