Thursday, August 31
Dustin and I have grown terribly fond of panzanellas. So easy, so versatile, and healthy to boot. It's the perfect summer meal, when you get home from work and would rather sit outside, sipping a beer than throw something together for dinner. And, since it's just the two of us, and I have a weakness for purchasing delicious artisinal bread, which we can never finish, we always have leftover bread laying around. And people, if I made bread pudding everytime we had leftover bread, my pants would no longer fit.
The first time I made panzanella was actually only a few months ago. I tore out a recipe card from Martha Stewart for a Meditteranean Panzanella, with green beans, olives, red onion, and feta. From that point on we were hooked. I've made a few panzanellas since then, but the one that we had for dinner last night was by far the best yet. Having some leftover flageolet beans, and the last of our tomatoes from the garden, which I roasted in the oven with thyme and garlic, dinner was practically made before I even started.
Hopefully you'll make this, or use it as inspiration to create your own panzanella. Although it's usually considered a summer dish, I've already been envisioning fall versions, with roasted squash, or some roasted peppers, or maybe even a variation with some steak and blue cheese. If you love beans though, absolutely give this a try. I totally adore beans, and this was meal perfection for me.
Mediteranean Bean Panzanella
2 Tbsp good-quality olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
1 1/2 cups beans, preferably a soft-textured white bean
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
8 oil-cured black olives, chopped
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Feta or goat cheese for garnish, optional
2 Thick slices good-quality bread, cut 1-inch thick
Preheat your oven to broil. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing, mixing well to emulsify. Toss the onion, and olives in the bowl, and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Warm the beans and roasted tomatoes in a small saucepan (drain and rinse if using canned; add a splash of olive oil or chicken broth to moisten) over medium-low heat. In the meantime, place your bread slices under the broiler, and toast evenly to a golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oven.
Add the beans and tomatoes to the bowl with the dressing, and toss gently to combine. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, and add to the salad, along with the chopped parsley. Toss gently again, to thoroughly mix ingredients and moisten the bread with the dressing.
Divide the salad among 2 bowls and top with cheese if desired.