kelly said

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23 July 2006

Panzanella Salad (Cooks Illustrated)

Panzanella Salad

Serves 6 to 8

Thanks to prepared basil pesto from the supermarket, this Italian bread salad is easy to make. The bread croutons will soften as they sit in the salad, so add them just 10 minutes before serving.
2 cups 1-inch cubes Italian bread
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium shallot , minced
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Toss bread cubes with 1/4 cup olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Spread bread cubes on pan and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, shaking pan halfway through to prevent bread from sticking. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Bread cubes can be stored in zipper-lock bag for one or two days.)

2. Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, beans, cucumber, and shallot in large bowl. Whisk pesto, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 cup oil together in small bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle pesto dressing over vegetables, toss well, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Ten minutes before serving, add bread cubes to vegetables and toss well. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle basil on top. Serve.