Bread salad. It's never really appealed to me. I mean, who in their right mind wants soggy bread? Granted, I love salad dressing. But, I'd rather have it delivered via some lovely salad greens. Over the years I've read lots of panzanella recipes. They've all looked so pretty. The vibrant reds of the tomatoes. The green capers and basil. I just couldn't get my mind around soggy bread.
So, here I am with these wonderful beers from New Belgium Brewing. (Thanks if I've not said it before! We really love your beers!) I've done a taste test with two loaves of cheddar scallion beer bread. One with the Mighty Arrow Pale Ale and one with the Ranger India Pale Ale. We pretty much inhaled the loaf made with the Mighty Arrow. The Ranger loaf is for bread pudding and something else. Yes, panzanella was the perfect recipe for the bread. So, fine, I'll make it. But, that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Heh, heh, heh. Well, I didn't THINK I'd like it. But, I did. So did Connie. We both gave this a five. Now, here's the interesting part. The recipes all say to leave the salad for 30-60 minutes to give the flavors an opportunity to blend. Because I got home from the office and still had to process the cat food before fixing dinner, dinner was at about 9:00pm. There wasn't time to let anything sit. Not if I wanted to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
finely minced garlic
rolled anchovies with capers
roasted red bell pepper
freshly ground black pepper
cubed stale bread
This is the easy part. It's kind of choose what you want from the list as long as you have the basics in the salad. The basics are tomatoes, bread and an oil and vinegar dressing. I found recipes that included cucumber but didn't include any because I didn't have one. Next time, I'll probably add that too. You know, the everything but the kitchen sink routine. Here's how I made the salad:
Take a wooden salad bowl and rub it well with finely minced garlic and a bit of olive oil.
Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half and squeeze them well as you put them into the bowl.
Add the anchovies, chopped,
Red onions, thinly sliced
Roasted red bell pepper, chopped (scissors are GREAT for chopping things like this!)
A little Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh basil
Cubed stale bread. We used leftover cheddar chile beer bread
Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and more extra virgin olive oil. Toss well and serve.
I received New Belgium Brewing beers as part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program.