I remember eating some form of panzanella at every family party on my mom's side from the time I was young. Someone always made their version of it, and it was always drenched in olive oil and vinegar. This concept comes from Ina, but this recipe is a little bit Ina, a little bit Giada, and a little bit me.
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 basil leaves/ 2 T. roughly chopped basil
1 T. chopped oregano
3 tablespoons capers, drained
3 T. black olives, pitted
1 T. parsley, roughly chopped
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 white onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1/2 c. croutons
Prepare a charcoal grill with some hot coals/set your gas grill to medium/heat up your grill pan. Brush the grill rack/grate with some olive oil.
In a small bowl, add the garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1.4 tsp. pepper. Whisk together and set aside.
Dump the cucumber, tomato, oregano, basil, parsley, olives, and capers into a large bowl. Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper and toss well. Set aside.
When the grill is hot, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill.
Slice the peppers into smaller chunks, separate the onion rings and chop if desired and add them both to the cucumber mixture.
Add the croutons to the salad. Pour the reserved dressing over the salad and mix.
- If I had some foccacia bread on hand, I would have brushed it with some olive oil and grilled it for a few minutes until it was nice and toasted and used that. But, some seasoned croutons are also acceptable.
- The dressing is an Ina original. She uses it often in her salads.
- 1/4 c. olive oil is a lot. Add it slowly to your dressing, whisking in between. When it's got a consistency you like, stop adding olive oil or you'll weight down your salad.
- Zucchini would be great in place of the cucumber. But, don't grill either vegetable. They're what, 90% water? Instant mush on your grill.
- Same goes for the tomatoes. They'll break down ASAP on the grill. Bad news.
- A nice whole grain mustard could sub for the Dijon, but I don't sub because I dislike whole grain mustard. :-)