Thursday, February 7, 2013

Panzanella Salad

I had some bread crust left over from making sandwiches last weekend. I didn't want to throw them away, so I used them in quiet a few dishes, one of them was Panzanella salad.

This is an Italian salad, which is traditionally made with a day old (stale) bread. The bread is cut into small pieces and to salad veggies. The salad dressing is based on balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard.

1 Cup Small pieces torn from stale bread (in my case I used 1/2 Cup bread crust cut into small pieces)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Cherry Tomato, Cut into halves,
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped,
1 Medium Cucumber, Chopped,
1 Teaspoon Capers, Drained and Finley Chopped
1/4 Cups Pitted Olives, Chopped,

2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
Salt to Taste,
Pepper to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Italian Herbs Blend (Italian Seasoning),
2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard,

Combine all the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Bread: (only if you are not using stale/chewy bread)
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the bread and immedietly start stirring to make sure that all bread pieces are coated with oil. Turn the stove to low and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sides just start to get a little golden brown. Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Mix all the veggies for salad in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Add the bread pieces and gently  mix one more time to coat all veggies and bread pieces with the dressing. Let it stand for 1 hour, so that the bread can soak up some of the juices from veggies and dressing. Serve with your favorite soup or pasta.

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Croutons from Bread Crusts

A small and simple post today. My daughter turned two years old on February 4th. We had arranged a party for her last weekend. I had made tricolor sandwiches for little kids. Since I made the sandwiches specifically for kids, I removed the crust (side edges) from the bread. We had invited a lot of kids, and hence I ended up with a big bowl full of bread crust. I didn't feel like throwing it away, so I made few different things with the left over crust. One of them was croutons. I don't have exact measurement for oil and seasonings, so add them per your preference.

Crust from 5-6 bread slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt to taste
1-2 Teaspoon oil, or just enough to lightly coat the crust pieces
1-2 Teaspoon of your choice of Italian seasons, or black pepper, or any other type of seasoning

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F. Lay the bread pieces on a baking tray. Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the salt and spices. Mix well. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

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