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Springtime Panzanella

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Serves 8- 10 | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

The recipe is courtesy of Michael Chiarello, via the blog Well Fed.

Ingredients You'll Need

(for the croutons)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 tablespoons minced fresh basil
3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1 pound day-old country bread in 1/2-inch cubes (remove crust if hard)
Gray salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino romano

(for the dressing)
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock, plus more for moistening the salad
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

(for the salad)
2/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1-1/2 cups cooked peas
1/2 cup grated pecorino Toscano
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
6 cups spring greens lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat until it begins to brown. Add the chopped garlic and stir briefly to release its fragrance. Remove from the heat and add the minced basil and thyme.

Stir to combine. Pour the butter mixture over the bread cubes in a bowl and toss briskly so butter coats the cubes evenly. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the two cheeses. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, scraping all the seasonings over them.

Bake until lightly browned but still soft, about 15 minutes to 20 minutes, making sure to stir the bread every few minutes or so. Let cool on baking sheet.

Cool the puree, then whisk together with chicken stock and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, combine toasted bread cubes, scallions, peas, pecorino Toscano, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour in the dressing and toss well, adding a little more broth if panzanella seems dry. If you like, you can let the bread cubes sit for about 30 minutes or so, so they soak up the dressing and become soft. I happen to prefer the bread to still have just a bit of crunch. Whatever you're partial to, add the dressed spring greens just before serving, so the lettuce doesn't get soggy, and then toss to combine.

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