Tag Archive for summer salad

Panzanella Salad

It’s tomato season! Maybe some of you out there have tomatoes in your garden that are producing by the bushel right now. If so, I’m jealous of you–I’ve never been that great at growing them.

What I am great at is going to the Farmer’s Market, which I did last weekend, and came home with a bunch of beautiful, heirloom tomatoes.

panzanella salad

If you’re wondering what makes a tomato “heirloom,” they are planted from older seeds, heritage seeds that have been preserved. Overall, what you’ll notice is that they are much more colourful, and you’ll see a wide variety of shapes and sizes, unlike the more uniform colour and product you’ll get from your grocery store.

I’d been craving something fresh these days after being on the road the last couple of weeks and eating nothing but restaurant food. But I wasn’t sure what. A Gazpacho, maybe? All I knew was that it needed to be something I didn’t have to spend time slaving over a hot stove. I’m in the middle of writing my chapter on baking in the cookbook, and my kitchen is 400 degrees all the freaking time.

farmers market panzanella salad

So, I settled on a Panzanella Salad. An Italian salad, this is meant to use up stale bread. I had an old baguette in the freezer I’d been saving for this purpose, and the rest of my ingredients were easily sourced at the Sunday Kits Farmer’s Market.

It’s super easy. Just chop everything and throw it in a bowl. This recipe is completely vegan if you leave off the cheese, or use a vegan Parmesan alternative.

I love that it makes use of what’s in season right now, and no oven, to boot!

panzanella salad 2

Panzanella Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 largeish ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber
  • onions; I used 3 green onions because I like the milder flavor, but you could use half a red onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 french baguette
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Cut your baguette into bite-sized (about 1″ square) pieces. If your bread is fresh, lay it on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into a 1″ dice.
  3. Slice the cucumber length-wise all the way down and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Now slice each half into half-moon slices, about 1/3″ thick.
  4. Chop the onion finely, and chiffonade the basil.
  5. Now, toss everything together in a large bowl, keeping aside a little of the basil for garnish.
  6. In a mason jar, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with salt and pepper to taste. Shake well to combine, then pour over the salad and toss well.
  7. Pour the salad out onto a platter, and garnish with the remaining basil and curls of Parmesan cheese.

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Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Carpaccio.

Normally, it refers to raw, thinly sliced meats that are then “cured” with some kind of acid; usually a lemon juice or a vinegar. Generally speaking, this kind of dish is served in high-end restaurants, often as an appetizer. It’s akin to ceviche (which is made with fish).

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

I’m not a big meat-eater, so I thought I’d do a vegetarian version of this dish. For me, the appeal of a carpaccio is its beauty. Thin slices, artfully arranged… it’s a gorgeous dish.

I made mine with radishes, which are very much in season right now. To make this even prettier, see if you can find watermelon radishes. They have a beautiful colour and striation all the way through, instead of being solid white in the middle like traditional radishes.

In an ideal world, you would use a mandoline to slice your vegetables. This ensures a consistent thickness (or thinness, depending on how you look at it!), and honestly, is a lot easier than trying to cut paper-thin slices of radishes with a knife!

The dressing on this is a simple oil-and-vinegar. This is a very simple dish, but I love it because nothing distracts from the beautiful fresh radishes and cucumbers. This would make an elegant dish to serve at an afternoon tea party, or as a starter at a fancy vegan dinner.

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Radish and Cucumber Carpaccio

Ingredients:

  • One medium-sized cucumber, about 1-1½” in diameter. You could use a few Japanese cucumbers instead, as they are thinner in diameter.
  • 6 radishes
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice the cucumbers and radishes thinly on the diameter, and arrange prettily on a serving platter.
  2. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. In a small dish, combine the oil and vinegar, and add a pinch of salt and white pepper. Stir well.
  4. Drizzle the dressing evenly all over the salad.
  5. Chiffonade the mint leaves and sprinkle on top.

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