Hello all! As promised while I’m on vacay (am I Elle Woods? Hmm. Maybe a little…), we have some guests and the first is Biscuit, because she got her entry in first. She’s my blogger soul mate that I haven’t yet met, and if you go over and check out her blog, you’ll notice that we might be cross-border twins. Except she loves melon and I…you know, and I love sushi and she…not so much. But we both agree that pie is a NO and that Olivia should be going #TeamJake on Scandal.
Without further ado, here’s Biscuit sharing her most favorite panzanella salad.
Hello Hungary Buddha friends, family, and faithful readers. I am so happy to share my recent most favourite recipe with you. A few things you should know about me first:
1. I hail from north of the border. Yes, “favourite” has a “u” in it because it pleases the Queen. Yes, I do miss Target – best 2 years of my life. No, I do not like Tim Hortons. Yes, poutine really is that great.
2. I fully think chopping things up and putting them on a plate is a recipe. Mostly because I don’t love cooking – I like it fine, and I’m good enough at it, but it is definitely not my passion as it is Chrissy’s. Also, my oven hasn’t worked for almost 3 months.
3. I eat my chopped salad with a spoon. Much easier to shovel into my mouth this way.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, back to recipe sharing.
I say this is my recent most favourite recipe because I have a knack for the loving the heck out of foods, eat them everyday, and then can’t even look at them again for months. Which works well when allthethings are in season in the summer and all I want to eat is soup in the winter. But actually. I made beef stew for 7 consecutive weeks this past winter.
My intense craving for panzanella started at the beginning of August; a very close family friend of ours passed away and after her funeral we stopped by the house for a drink and a last peek at her gardens in full, glorious bloom. The veggie patches were full of ripe tomatoes so I made my sister pick me a few. (what? I wasn’t wearing any shoes….this is common in our family…and I’m totally not a hippie (although I live in a super hippie town) it’s just that my feet were so sore and the grass was lush and green in a way that is best enjoyed barefoot.)
So tomatoes? Perfect, large, freshly picked tomatoes begging to be near crusty bread drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Because I assume you are also a pro at cutting things up and calling it a recipe – you should make BLTs this week, too. That was my first inclination, and I LOVE bacon, but didn’t have any in the house and at the time was going to be brunching at two of my favourite local places that have the.best.bacon.ever! Salad it was.
Oh oh, you should also know I am not a traditionalist. Can I make a traditional panzanella with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and delicious buttery croutons? Sure, but that’s no fun. Let me introduce you the most perfect end of summer panzanella. The one full of the freshest, juiciest, fruits (oh yah) and vegetables available at your local farmers market.
Tomato + baby cucumber + peach (or in my case, nectarine because I like them better) + sweet onion + sourdough + bocconcini + basil + fig balsamic vinegar.
I have had a version of this panzanella at least 4 days a week for the last 3 weeks. Sometimes with grilled chicken on top, sometimes with some fresh corn on the side (do that! So good right now!). Are you moving? I’m moving. This has been perfect through the last few weeks of August because I pick up everything I need at the market on Saturday and need minimal prep space or tools. Which is good because my oven still doesn’t work (croutons…toaster oven…yah) and everything but my salad bowl, cutting board, and favourite knife were packed right after I took these photos. Which was still 10 days before my closing date. I finished packing my entire 2 bedroom plus office apartment a full 8 days before I moved. Please ask Chrissy for an address where you can send me my medal. Shiny things!
You CAN make friends with this salad!
Dinner for 1 hungry, veggie loving gal.
- 1 medium – large tomato (or a few handfuls – I have small hands – of cherry tomatoes)
- 2 baby cucumbers
- 1 medium peach or nectarine (I leave the nectarine skin on, but you may want to peel your peach if you don’t like the fuzz; which I do not)
- ¼ of a small sweet Vidalia onion. (or use as much as you like. I love Vidalias. I feel like typically one would use purple onion in this dish? It gives me heartburn. You do you.)
- 1-2 slices of sourdough bread
- ¼ cup bocconcini pearls (more is more when it comes to cheese. Extra old white cheddar is also a great choice.)
- Fresh basil
- Balsamic vinegar (I use a fig flavoured one I find at my local grocery store. It’s sweet and delicious)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- (You may also want to make a vinegrette first with oil+vinegar. Go for it. I love fig balsamic way to much to invite oil to the party.)
- Butter both sides (YES, both sides) of the sourdough and pop directly onto the rack of a 450° oven till deliciously golden on both sides, cool so you don’t burn your cute little finger tips, and cut into 1” cubes. (Yes, you can broil but only the top gets toasty.) Alternatively, cut bread into cubes, toss in melted butter or oil, and bake on a cookie sheet till golden brown.
- Dice tomatoes, cucumbers, and peach/nectarine into similar size cubes. I’m usually a ½” cube kind of
- girl. Slice onion very thinly.
- Put tomato, cucumber, peach/nectarine cubes into a bowl, toss in the onion slices, bocconcini cheese, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. (Ok don’t hate me; I don’t know how much, I never measure.). Mix mix mix. Then add the croutons and basil. Mix again. Devour. (You want to add the croutons after the vinegar because they are essentially little carby sponges that suck up all the yummy vinegar if mixed in before. This way they delicately absorb just the right amount.)
Lets recap: chop stuff you like, put it into a bowl, top it with a liquid you enjoy, eat. Convince the internet you are an authority on salads.
Ps: I totally said to the guy at the market “I need the prettiest tomatoes you have; they’re for a photoshoot.” So ah, maybe good thing I’m moving because some of the farmers at the market think I’m crazy.
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