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Michael Paul
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Sourdough Panzanella



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"To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomat - the problem is entirely
the same in both cases. To know how much oil to mix in with one's vinegar."

~ Oscar Wilde

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Olive Sprig with Black Olives on White Bread, Olive Oil Behind
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Sourdough Panzanella

Union Square Cafe Cookbook:
160 Favorite Recipes from
New York's Acclaimed Restaurant

by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano,
994, HarperCollins

“There are probably as many different versions of this bread salad as there are households in central Italy. Originally a peasant recipe designed to use up
leftover bread, panzanella has moved into the sophisticated culinary main-
stream. It’s not uncommon to come across salads with anchovies, capers, or
small chunk of mozzarella cheese. Once you get our recipe down, you can experiment endlessly with this thrifty delight. We also serve it with our
roast chicken, and it becomes a replacement for the ‘stuffing’ Americans
love with their roast fowl. Panzanella is also great as a first course salad
or as a refreshing light lunch.”

Serves 8

1 pound 2-day-old sourdough or
whole wheat peasant bread
3 red bell peppers
Ice water (see note)
4 ripe tomatoes, split crosswise, squeezed to
remove seeds and juice, and diced
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced celery
1 cup peeled, halved, and thinly
sliced red onion
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted gaeta or
Niçoise olives
1/3 cup washed, dried, and sliced basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the stale bread into 3/4-inch slices. If the bread is not completely
hard, leave it out longer or place in a 200-degree [F] oven until you
have the desired texture.
2. Preheat the broiler. Roast the peppers under the broiler, turning them
from side to side, until their skins blacken. Place the charred peppers
in a covered container or paper bag until cool. Remove the skin by
rubbing the peppers with a paper towel or by peeling them with a
small knife. Discard the seeds. (To avoid losing flavor, never peel
roast peppers under running water.) Cut the flesh into 3/4-inch dice
and set aside. [If you are in a time crunch, or simply do not want
to be bothered, purchased roasted bell peppers may be substituted
here, with the understanding that you will lose some flavor.]
3. Soak the bread in ice water to cover for 5 minutes, or just until soft.
Drain the water and, with your hands, squeeze out all the excess
water from the bread, Over a large bowl, rub the bread between
the palms of your hands until it crumbles into small pieces.
4. Combine the bread with the peppers, tomatoes, celery, onion, olive,
basil and pine nuts. Season with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar,
salt, and pepper and continue to mix well. Serve.

Note:  When soaking the stale bread, make certain to use ice water.
If the water is anything but ice cold, the stale bread will turn into an
unappealing mush instead of a tender crumb that holds its own with
the other ingredients.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Giada'a Cornbread Panzanella Salad
Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Peas
Basil Zucchini Salad
Summer Basil and Tomato Bread Soup
(Pappa al Pomodoro)

Soups from The Union Square Cafe


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