Panzanella

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I’ve been really into this Mark Bittman cookbook Kitchen Express this year. It’s a killer collection if you are a reasonably experienced cook because each recipe is just a paragraph of instruction, no long ingredients list or any complex directions. Every recipe can be prepped in 10-20 minutes and although a few take longer to cook, many can be totally completed in just a few minutes. The book is organized by what’s in season too, which is convenient for meal planning. One of my favorite super quick summer recipes is the Italian bread salad panzanella. It’s one of those things you can play with and make to taste also, possibly use up some leftover produce, but I personally like to keep it pretty simple.

The recipe is as follows:

  1. Cube up a good amount of bread, 3 thick slices. I generally prefer cibatta for this but you can use anything.
  2. Chop 2 decent sized ripe tomatoes. You don’t have to buy fancy ones but make sure they are ripe. I prefer to get the big hothouse ones but you can also have a carton of cherry or grape tomatoes.
  3. Chop a couple of cloves of crushed garlic. Chop up a can of anchovies. Add this to the bowl with the tomatoes and a big spoonful of capers, salted or brined.
  4. Mix about a half cup of red wine vinaigrette–1/3 vinegar and 2/3 oil. Add a generous portion of black pepper. Toss with mix.
  5. Toss bread cubes with remaining mix.
  6. Plate and garnish with fresh basil and parmesan. Obviously fresh is best but it’s fine if it’s packaged.
  7. You can also use sautéed zucchini with it, it’s about a 50/50 whether you’ll get zucchini if you order it somewhere. I prefer without.