If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I love me some bread. The other day, I stopped into my Trader Joe’s and was salivating over their bread section. But since I am trying to cut out
my pooch bread, I generally steer away. Around these parts, we call bread “The Bad Stuff”. I am a recovering bread-a-holic. It’s real, people. In fact, I would venture you may see a “celebrity” afflicted with this addiction on the next season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. I live in a constant fear of a bad relapse where I wake up dazed and confused in someone else’s home and can’t recall how I got there. Which is what happens every year on Thanksgiving, what with two, sometimes three varieties of stuffing at my disposal. And dinner rolls. And wine. But I digress.
Anyways, I had a thought. I could make a panzanella salad, one of my favorite summertime meals. I’ve seen about a gazillion different recipes, but this time, I went rogue. And I created what I consider my very own version of Panzanella- cherry heirloom tomatoes doused with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and topped with mozzarella balls. It’s quite possible it’s been done before, but not in my house, so I can pretend I created it. This got Kase’s seal of approval, and got me my bread fix, without me going overboard*. And you can tell yourself you had salad for dinner so you really deserve dessert. Know what I’m sayin?
Kate’s Panzanella Salad
2 packages of cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom mixed with plain old cherry or grape tomatoes)
1 English Cucumber
1 Red Onion
1 loaf of crusty Italian bread or you can use a French Baguette
Maple Grove Farms Balsamic Vinaigrette with Maple Syrup
1 package of Ciliegine Mozarella Balls (these are the small, cherry sized mozzarella balls in the cheese section)
Salt and Pepper to taste
I like to grill my French loaf first, so I slice a few pieces and then grill them (either on the stove using a grilling pan or on the grill itself). Brush the bread with a little olive oil and place on grill, toasting each side.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half and place in bowl, along with thinly sliced onions. Peel and slice one english cucumber. Add to bowl.
Slice mozzarella balls in half and add to bowl.
Chop up some basil (to taste) and add to bowl.
Add cubed grilled bread and mix together while adding dressing to taste.
*By overboard, I mean, there were three separate occasions this winter alone where I ate an entire tube of (baked) honey butter flaky Grands biscuits. That is 12 biscuits at about 400 calories each. Which I smeared with butter. Yes, that would be going overboard. But damn, they are good. You should try them sometime. I myself am banned.
**TM Teresa Guidice from Real Housewives of NJ.