Sunday night dinners are a ritual in our family, as it gives us time to relax, drink wine, and connect before beginning another work week. One of my favorite things about living in California is the access to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. And while Panzanella Salad is typically a summer recipe, I was craving it and had just the right ingredients to pair it with a roasted chicken this weekend.
I am not big on measuring when cooking, but here is the gist of the recipe that I modified from Ina Garten’s cookbook.
For the salad:
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- ½ small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (I use this in most savory cooking)
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained (I love capers!)
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup good olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread, Herbes de Provence, and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
Mix bread with the avocado, basil and other cut up goodies.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients. Be sure to toast your helpers in the kitchen!
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, red pepper, yellow onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend. Voila! You have a hearty salad that can be made while the chicken is roasting.