Sunday, March 25, 2007


Croutons are one of the best things about salad. Unfortunately, croutons are not a mandatory element of most salads. This is why Panzanella, an italian bread salad, is one of our favorites. Basically anything can go into this salad, but the crusty croutons are a must! It's a great way to use day old bread, and you can even make extra croutons for use later. You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand. We like to use lots of tomatoes, cubed mozzarella and sauteed portabello mushrooms. Also, it doesn't hurt to go heavy on the croutons!

3 cups romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups radicchio, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
5 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced and drained
8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
6 ounces of portabello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups of croutons (recipe below)
1/2 onion (red or white), finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
6 leaves of fresh basil, cut in fine chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, place the romaine, radicchio, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
In a small container with a top, mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place top on container and shake well. Add the onions and the garlic marinate in the dressing for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste to the dressing.
In a hot skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms. Sautee until cooked, do no overcook. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and place in salad bowl as well.
Add the croutons to the salad and toss.
Shake dressing in container before pouring over the salad. Toss salad gently. Sprinkle with parmesan and basil.

Makes 4 entree servings

For the croutons:
10 oz crusty italian bread
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the olive oil and the oregano and minced garlic.
Cut bread into 3/4 inch cubes, and place into large bowl.
Pour the olive oil mixture over bread and the parmesan cheese and toss the bread cubes until evenly coated.
Spread the bread cubes on an ungreased baking sheet in a uniform flat layer. Salt and pepper to taste
Bake for 10 minutes or until the cubes are golden and crunchy, gently turning the croutons halfway during cooking time.


Rose said...

This is one of my favourite salads, especially during summer time.

Anonymous said...

this looks good. make some for me next week! Chris