Picnics and Panzanella

1 Aug

I cannot think of a better way to start a blog than with a recipe. Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

This salad was first created in the morning time, in a tiny yellow kitchen in North Portland. It was later transported by bike to a romantic picnic for two on the Skidmore Bluffs. Turns out it pairs perfectly with a chilled bottle of rosé, Blitzen Trapper and a warm sunny day. Serve at room temperature.

Picnic Panzanella

serves 4-8

  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata and green olives, halved lengthwise, save the brine
  • 12 ounces rustic bread, split lengthwise and toasted
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, cored, and sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 lb. wax beans, trimmed and blanched
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella balls (small), halved
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Using a cheese grater, grate the two remaining tomatoes into a small bowl. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on both sides of the toasted bread. Spoon the grated tomato on top and spread over the bread, drizzle with more olive oil, and top with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup of the olive oil, 3 tablespoons olive brine, shallot, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, dijon and honey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Toss vinaigrette together with olives, wax beans, tomatoes and mozzarella. Let stand 15 minutes. Add the bread cubes and fresh basil. Drizzle with more olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and allow to stand at room temperature for at least an hour, allowing flavors to blend.

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