A couple weeks ago, my local Asian/Produce market had a gorgeous crop of vine-ripened tomatoes, at the awesome and rare price of 99 cents a pound. Me being the lifelong tomato-lover that I am, I just could not pass up such a deal. I loaded up about 4 pounds and set off to brainstorm on how to use them up before they went bad. Now, I’ve wanted to try panzanella salad for a few years now, but never thought my husband would be very receptive to the wet bread thing…until now. He has tried many, many new things in the past few years, and I’ve learned to simply not tell him what I’m making when I think he might put up a fight. So, this time ’round, I knew I was gonna go for it. Only problem was it was late March and quite chilly here in Jersey. A cold tomato and bread salad just didn’t seem quite appropriate. After a little more thought, I decided to roast the tomatoes, toast up the bread, and serve it at room temp. The result, I must say, was the best thing I’ve made in a long time (yes, DH agrees) and I’m so glad that we photographed so that I can share it with all of you….it’s a must try! When it gets a little warmer I plan to develop a summer panzanella so keep a look out for that in the coming months.
Ciabatta Bread (stale is okay)
Fresh Lime Juice (plus a couple tbsps. of zest)
Fresh Lemon Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese (can also use parmesan, asiago, romano, etc.)
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, then cube your bread.
Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss in the oven.
Then cut your tomatoes into medium wedges.
Toss in a baking dish, grate some garlic over the top, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Then pop ’em into the oven.
While your bread toasts and your tomatoes roast, you can prepare the dressing. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and one lime into a bowl, drizzle in some olive oil whisking while you do so (to emulsify or homogenize the liquid).
Thinly slice some onion and finely chop the parsley, toss in the vinaigrette and season the whole mess with plenty of salt and pepper. Stir it up, taste it, sniff it, and continue to season until your tastebuds are all tingly.
When your bread is golden brown and the tomatoes are soft, bubbly, and brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes.
Toss the tomatoes into the dressing, with most of their juices.
Your bread should look like this:
Now toss that in, too. Use your vegetable peeler to shave up a heaping pile of cheese shards then add to the salad.
Now use your mitts or grab some salad spoons and toss up the whole thing until everything is well-combined.
Be careful not to over mix, you don’t want it to be squishy, you just want everything to be coated in dressing. Now, serve it up with some protein, and ENJOY!