I think the time is right
to re-run a past blog post in which I gave a recipe for the Italian
bread-and-tomato salad panzanella. After all, it’s the end of August. Farm
markets are still open and vegetable gardens are filled with seasonal bounty: there
are tomatoes out there, folks. Made it
last night but instead of French bread, I used white bread I had baked.
In case you’re impressed,
you should know that the bread recipe I use is as easy as all my other recipes.
Takes no longer to mix together than it takes to describe. It’s my dumbed down
version of this. Mix together in a bowl:
1 ½ c. warm water—pretty warm but not hot
½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. yeast
3 cups flour
Cover it with plastic
wrap and let it rise 2-5 hours. Put it in a greased loaf pan and let it rise
again, about 20 minutes or so, then bake 30 minutes in 450 degree oven. You can
also after the first rising, refrigerate it a few days, then bring it to room
temperature, let it rise in loaf pan, and bake. I also make this with half or a
third whole wheat and often with the addition of toasted walnuts and sesame,
sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Or other goodies.
And here’s the panzanella
recipe I originally posted:
In mid-summer it’s hard to avoid coming home from the farm markets
without too much of something that looked delicious. My downfall is tomatoes.
Off-season I don’t buy fresh tomatoes: the world is too filled with heartbreak
as it is. So during the summer I tend to go a little overboard. Ok, a lot
On this particular day I had beautiful ripe tomatoes and was
thinking of panzanella, that summery Italian bread salad. It seemed easy
enough...some tomatoes...some bread...olive oil.....let’s see. I looked
through my three shelves of cookbooks: nothing. (Really,
I looked online: too much. Too many ingredients, serving too many people. Maybe
in the summer you’re always suppose to be cooking for a crowd. Tonight I’m
cooking for two. So, as often happens--admittedly, not always with marvelous
results--I made up a recipe. And I’m sharing it with you as I made it. No
specific amounts, no specific proportions--you’re in charge. I’m just telling
you there are ripe tomatoes out there--go make panzanella.
What you need:
dried cubes of French bread
I cut the tomatoes, bread, and cucumber in nice-size chunks; you
can do the same depending on your idea of nice size. I cut some red onion in
smaller pieces, because that’s what I prefer. I added a little olive oil and
salt and pepper. I tore a bunch of basil leaves. Not “a bunch” as in what Whole
Foods puts in a rubber band, but a “bunch” as in what my plants were offering
and what I thought looked like a good amount. I tossed it all and took a
moment to enjoy how it reminded me of the Italian flag. And then I set it aside
in a (non-metallic) bowl for a few hours. Do not refrigerate it.
Refrigeration does terrible things to tomatoes.
At this very moment it is still in progress, the tomatoes’ juices
and the olive oil doing their magic on the bread cubes. I plan to taste a
little throughout the afternoon because the one amount I was unsure of was the
olive oil. But I’m thinking this is going to be very good. And I’m hoping that
if you find something that could make it better, you’ll let me know.
My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
My author photo is by James Dalsimer.
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The cover of Afterwords was designed by Kate Misail.
The painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.
The photo on the cover of Brightness Falls is by Lora Brody.