Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Panzanella with Kale and Peppers

Panzanella is an Italian salad of bread and tomatoes. The dressing mixes with the tomato's juice, and everything is tied together nicely with fresh basil. I've added a few ingredients to the classic with some kale and peppers, then also added a touch of Parmesan onto the bread. Enjoy.


1 Tbs. olive oil
2 thick sliced whole grain bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 ripe tomatoes, cored, then cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup lacinato or dinosaur kale, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
several grinds of sea salt


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the bread cubes, toasting them on all sides until brown, about 5 minutes. When the bread cubes are browned, turn off the heat, and immediately add the Parmesan cheese to the hot pan. Toss the bread cubes with the cheese. Don't worry if some of the cheese sticks to the pan, it will be delicious just as it is. Prepare the tomatoes while the bread cubes toast by cubing them, placing them in a mixing bowl, and mixing them with the 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Stem the kale, chop it, then knead it with your hands for about 1 minute. It will turn a darker green, and will become slightly wilted. Add the kale, lettuce, red pepper, shallot, and basil to the mixing bowl. Add the toasted bread cubes, then toss everything with the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Add a grind of sea salt. Let the salad stand for about 5 minutes, long enough for the bread to absorb the tomato juice, but not long enough for it to get soggy. Enjoy

Serves 4 as a side salad or 2 as a main salad

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Kale is one of the darlings of the salad world for good reason. It's dark color gives us the first clue to it's bounty of vitamins and antioxidants, while it's hearty texture hints of all that extra fiber. All good! Kneading kale for a minute, or even two,  releases some of the taste and breaks down some of the fibers. That allows the flavors to hit the tongue faster, and makes it easier to chew. Even those who think they don't like kale will like it with this preparation trick, so don't tell them what it is!

No comments: