More Dining Outdoors, A Panzanella Salad Recipe!


As the More is More Mom®, this summer I have been all about….. more Heirloom Tomatoes! I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about trying out a Panzanella Salad recipe and only the freshest, most beautiful tomatoes would do. Over the past few weeks I have been visiting various Farmer’s Markets in my quest. While the search was great fun, it turned up….fruitless. 

 

Low and behold, as luck would have it, the very best and most reliable place to purchase lovely heirloom tomatoes is at Whole Foods. Hmmm. That’s a puzzler. Happily, I loaded up on tomatoes and headed home to start my dinner.

This salad was so fresh and delicious it felt like a crime not to eat it outside. Thankfully the bugs weren’t biting and we enjoyed it enormously!

Panzanella Salad topped with Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken:

Panzanella Salad is a bread salad, typically made with day old bread. Tomatoes and cucumbers are the heart and soul of the salad, but you can toss in anything to your liking; lettuce, celery, carrots, parsley, hard boiled eggs, bell peppers. Whatever you’ve got or whatever you love.

Serves 6

Herb Marinated Chicken:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together;

1 heaping Tbsp sage, rolled like a cigar and sliced

2 heaping Tbsp rosemary, chopped

2 Tbsp parsley

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cracked, black pepper (that’s always my preference)

1 ½ cups oil (add more to coat if needed)

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (optional…but why would you opt not to?)

I like to transfer the marinade to a Ziploc Baggie for easier cleanup.

Add;

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Seal the bag and marinade for several hours or over night.

Dressing:

In a bowl, whisk together;

6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or sherry vinegar. If you like something lighter, try white wine vinegar)

1 cup olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp salt (I love sea salt)

½ tsp cracked, black pepper

Transfer to a container with a lid

Vegetables:

In a bowl, combine;

2 seedless cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1 small to medium size red onion, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 jar pitted Kalamata olives

NOTE: Here would be a good place to include anything else your heart, or your stomach, desires.

Drizzle with dressing and mix thoroughly. The veggies should be lightly coated, not drowning in dressing.

Set aside

In a separate bowl, place;

4 chopped tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes are a treat this time of year)

In another separate bowl, place;

20 basil leaves, torn in to bite size pieces

Bread:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

I simply took a large loaf of French bread and cut it into thick slices

Place slices on aluminum foil on a cookie sheet

Toast in the oven until they just start to turn a light golden color, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool until you are able to handle the toasts.

Take a whole garlic clove (you’ll need more than one) and generously rub it all over the front and back side of the toast. It will leave a lovely hint of garlic.

Chop into chunks, about 1”. You’ll want about 6 cups of bread.

Add to the cucumber, onion and olive mixture, stir until well mixed. Add additional dressing as needed to lightly coat the bread as well.

Set aside.

Grilling the Chicken:

Pre-heat the grill to medium.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill racks.

After about 10-12 minutes, turn over.

Cook an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken appears to be cooked to your liking.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice at an angle.

 

Add the tomatoes and basil to the bread mixture. Mix well.

Spoon a large helping of bread salad to a dinner plate.

Top with a sliced grilled chicken breast.

I served this dish with garlic roasted potatoes and corn on the cob.

I may not have had luck at the Farmers Market, but my salad was more fresh and more delicious than I could have imagined. What a treat!

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