Like many restaurant chefs, Michael White “shocks” fresh vegetables to make them supercrisp by submerging them briefly in an ice-water bath. For the panzanella (Italian bread salad) here, don’t bother shocking the fennel. Simply toss it with tomatoes, peppers and pieces of grilled ciabatta bread just before you’re ready to serve the steak.
Slideshow: More Amazing Bread Salads
Six 1-inch slices of ciabatta bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 fennel bulb, cored and shaved (preferably on a mandoline)
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 1/4 cups)
4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled, or feta
How to Make It
Light a grill. Brush the bread with olive oil and grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread with the garlic clove.
Brush the steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, about 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing across the grain.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, fennel and cucumber and toss. Tear the grilled ciabatta into bite-size pieces, add them to the salad and toss again. Transfer the panzanella to plates, top with the steak and ricotta salata and serve.
Rich, plummy Sangiovese.
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