Smoky Panzanella with Market Vegetables

What’s a Panzanella?   It is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  It’s just the right time for this veggie bliss.  Using smoked mozzarella from The Cheese People makes this panzanella extra special.  Enjoy with a bottle of wine from Glunz Family Winery.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced into thirds on the bias
  • 8 ounces cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cubed bread with enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat liberally, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the bread cubes in an even layer on one side of a large baking sheet.
  3. In the same mixing bowl, toss the diced peppers with some extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and place them on the other side of the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven to bake until the bread is crispy and golden brown and the peppers have softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Keep an eye on it so the bread doesn't burn!
  4. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  5. Once the bread is toasted, combine the bread and peppers with the smoked mozzarella, snap peas and tomatoes (you can use the same bowl you tossed the bread and peppers in). Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and add the torn basil leaves.
  6. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Recipe courtesy Kelsey Nixon Cooking Channel