Garden Vegetable Panzanella
- SERVINGS: 4
This rustic salad is used to rescue stale bread. Very fresh tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper are the heroes here.
- Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of Tuscan bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (5 cups)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small cucumberpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, or until dry but not browned. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with 1 teaspoon of salt until the salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with pepper.
- Dip your fingers in water and flick them over the bread several times, tossing it with your hands until lightly moistened. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, celery, scallions, mushrooms and dressing and toss until evenly coated. Season the salad with salt and pepper, garnish with the basil and serve.
The combination of crunchy and acidic raw vegetables is tailor-made for the sassy fruit and high acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. Look for a flavorful Italian example.