Recipe & Giveaway: Tuscan Bread, Grilled Bell Pepper, and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Panzanella Bread Salad Recipe from James Peterson's Cookbook "Vegetables"

The first “serious” cookbook I ever bought was Sauces by James Peterson, a James Beard Cookbook of the Year. I was enrolled in the culinary basics boot camp in culinary school at the time, and was following the recommendation of the class instructor. Nine years later, I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I found myself sitting next to Peterson at the Symposium for Professional Food Writers, preceding him leading small group discussions, followed by an intimate dinner. You could say I’m a fan.

Just recently, I received a copy of James’s newly released Vegetables, Revised: The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking, with More than 300 Recipes. Part cookbook, part journal, part reference, this full-color book with hundreds of photos inspires and informs with all you need to know to execute mouth-watering, fresh vegetable recipes.

With the long-awaited beginning of tomato season, I decided to adapt this recipe slightly. Since I live in the suburbs, seeking out a farmers’ market or upscale market is rare for me. So I opt for the sweet, juicy, fully ripened Campari’s on the vine, the only domestically grown tomatoes available at my grocery store. Whatever you do, resist refrigerating whole tomatoes (unless overly ripe) because they lose much of their flavor and delicate texture when chilled.

Enjoy this salad as a side dish, or if you’re like me, turn a generous portion into a meal with a hard-boiled egg alongside, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper. Or try stirring in chickpeas.

Recipe: Tuscan Bread, Grilled Bell Pepper, and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

3 (1/2-inch-thick) slices crusty French bread (I used whole-grain hoagie rolls), cut into 1/2-to-1-inch cubes (3 cups, or 150 g cubed)

4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 medium or 8 small tomatoes, halved crosswise, and seeded (I skipped the seeding)

1 medium red, green, or yellow bell pepper, charred on a grill or gas burner, peeled, and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

20 basil leaves, larger leaves torn into halves or thirds

8 to 12 anchovy fillets, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water and patted dry (soaking optional), cut into 4 sections

5 tablespoons (42 g) pitted and quartered lengthwise kalamata olives

1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons (23 ml) excellent-quality balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar (I used a decent balsamic)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt (or less if you skip soaking the anchovies)

Toss the bread cubes in 2 tablespoons (28 ml) of the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium heat until the cubes brown slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Chop the tomatoes into chunks about 1/2-inch on each side. Toss the tomato chunks with the bread cubes, the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil, bell pepper, basil, anchovies, olives, vinegar, pepper and salt. Serve at the table in a large salad bowl.

Prep time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 11.5 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 708 mg sodium, 5 mg cholesterol, 16 g total carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein, 9% DV iron, 6% DV calcium, 17% DV Vitamin A, 112% DV Vitamin C.

Vegetables Cookbook Giveaway!

The book’s publisher Ten Speed Press kindly provided me with two copies to give away to you, my enthusiastic readers, with one guaranteed to one of my email subscribers (www.michelledudash.com). To enter below, tell me which summer vegetable do you delight in the most and what do you plan to do with it? Entries will be accepted through June 8, 2012 11:59 PM (PST). Winner to be announced by June 15, 2012.

Recipe adapted with permission.

 

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Tuscan Bread, Grilled Bell Pepper, and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Panzanella Bread Salad Recipe from James Peterson's Cookbook "Vegetables"

By Michelle Published: May 17, 2012

  • Yield: 1 cup each (6 Servings)
  • Prep: 40 mins

The perfect summertime salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and whole-grain bread.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Toss the bread cubes in 2 tablespoons (28 ml) of the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium heat until the cubes brown slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Chop the tomatoes into chunks about 1/2-inch on each side. Toss the tomato chunks with the bread cubes, the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil, bell pepper, basil, anchovies, olives, vinegar, pepper and salt. Serve at the table in a large salad bowl.
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7 Comments

  1. Michelle Dudash
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    This is a test by Michelle to see if the CAPTCHA is working:)

  2. Suzanne
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I am starting my first vegetable garden this year and I am excited to see what I might be able to grow! I do like summer squashes and I like them prepared on the grill.

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Suzanne, wow! Impressive. Let us know how your garden turns out! Thanks for sharing.
      Michelle

  3. Posted May 23, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I just posted a recipe for Grilled Pepper Salad which I like to eat on a toasted baguette. During the summer, I will add tomatoes because I always grow more than I know what to do with. I think tomatoes are my favorite summer garden crop. Thanks for posting. This recipe sounds delicious. ~ Merci! ~

    • Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Bebe,

      That sounds delicious! Yum. Thanks for sharing, and uh, where is Pennsyltucky??:)

      Michelle

  4. Fiona
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    asparagus! i grill so much of it during the summer

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Fiona, I know I love grilling asparagus, too! So easy. Thanks for sharing and nice to hear from you again.
      Michelle

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