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Panzanella

 

Source: The Olive Oil Source
11/01/2005

This refreshing, hearty salad is good with grilled steak or chicken, or on its own as a light lunch. You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time, but do not assemble until just before serving to keep the bread crisp and crunchy.

1 sourdough baguette or 1/2 crusty, loaf of good quality bread, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
5 ripe heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch arugula
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 bunch basil, chopped roughly
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
4 ounces crumbed feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup The Olive Oil Source medium-flavor extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil on a flat plate. Dip each slice of bread into the oil to coat both sides and place slices on a cookie sheet. (Add more olive oil to the plate as needed.) Toast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned. When the slices have cooled a bit, cut each slice into cubes. In a large salad bowl, toss the bread, chopped tomatoes, arugula, beans, and basil with the lemon juice. Add the feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add some more olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6