It's Barefoot Thursdays, so you know it's going to be good. Serve this with the Red Wine and Dijon Tri Tip from yesterdays post.....Those resourceful Italian fore bearers of mine were every bit as frugal as I am. No wonder I'm an inveterate penny pincher. The Italian ragazzi weren't about to let a crumb of edible food go to waste- and thus panzanella was born of invention, pluck, and Etruscan thrift. Once you've tried bread salad, you'll start buying extra baguettes and willing them to get stale. It's an ideal use for those day old loaves with the fluorescent stickers on the mournful bakery rack. As with all Ina recipes, folks, I have to lighten them up a little. I know they're wickedly good as is, but well, it's a struggle to keep the zippers zipping and the buttons buttoning, and this with long hard miles on the treadmill daily. (Dorie and Ina, you're killing me softly, and oh how I love it!) For the seam splitting version, click here. For my seam stretching version, see below.
Lightened Up Panzanella
Estimated Cost: $7.00
Money Saving Tips: Go for a day old bread loaf here. Use whatever vegetables you can find for cheap or from your own garden. Ina uses bell peppers also, but I left them out since they were expensive this week. You can also swap the feta (my addition) for mozzarella or Parmesan, or leave it out altogether. Make it a little heartier for dinner by adding cooked garbanzo beans.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cups day old multi grain baguette (I love Albertson's version)
2 cloves minced garlic, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided use
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large red tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 thinly sliced red onion
2-4 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non stick skillet. Add bread, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt. Cook over medium low heat until bread is crisp, stirring often about 10 minutes; set aside briefly. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining garlic, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Whisk in olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. To prepare salad, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, basil, bread and dressing. Toss in feta, if desired. Serve within 45 minutes. I'm so glad it's almost Friday. I'm burning the candle at both ends because I love the Olympics.
State Fair Favorite
Homemade Corn Dogs and Cheese Doggies