It’s Earth Day on Friday 22nd April, so let’s mark the date with an environmentally friendly recipe from Fine Cooking, that adheres to Michael Pollan’s adage of “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”
If you’ve never had a bread salad, you’re missing out on a great way to both use up leftover bread and showcase summer tomatoes. Bread salads are common in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, where cooks use stale bread as the primary ingredient. In this Italian version, called panzanella, we char the bread on the grill for added flavour. If you don’t feel like grilling the bread, you can toast it in a grill pan or under a low broiler.
See also: What Will You Make For National Doughnut Week?
- 4-1/2-inch-thick slices (about 8 oz.) from the centre of a round sourdough loaf (a boule)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small shallot, sliced into thin rings
- 3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1-1/2 lb. ripe, meaty tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
- 1 small English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
- Heat a gas grill with all burners on medium. Brush the bread with 1/4 cup of the oil and season it with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- Grill the bread on both sides, checking frequently, until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. When the bread is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a small bowl, soak the shallot in the vinegar for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shallot to a large bowl, reserving the vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and mash it to a paste on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife.
- Whisk the mashed garlic, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper into the reserved vinegar.
- Toss the bread cubes, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, mint, capers, and vinaigrette in the bowl with the shallot. Season the panzanella to taste with kosher salt and pepper and serve.