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Panzanella Salad

So, it’s now Summertime and my favorite time of year. Not only am I a Southern girl through and through who loves the hot sunny weather here in Georgia, but I love this time of year for all the amazing fresh local produce that is so delicious and easy to get your hands on!!! I love that it’s easy to grow your own food. I can’t wait for my vegetables and melons and berries to ripen!

So, let’s celebrate SUMMER this Memorial Day weekend. Let’s celebrate the countless men and women who have given their lives for our freedom. Let’s celebrate our friends and family members we have with us still. Let’s celebrate a country where we can type away our thoughts, passions, and hobbies on the internet for all to enjoy. Let’s celebrate food! And I can’t think of a better way than to show you how to make a summer salad to share with the people in your life.

Panzanella!!!! If you haven’t had this before….you are going to love it! It’s easy, quick, and super yummy.

Here’s what you need:

day-old French or sourdough bread, cubed
olive oil
watercress
ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
roasted red peppers, diced
sweet onion, sliced very thin (vidalia if you can get them)
capers
garlic
butter
shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt & pepper
fresh mozzarella, cut in chunks

Shrimp!

I’m going to dress this salad up a bit by adding some cast iron skillet grilled shrimp.

First, grab some day old sourdough or French bread. I used a French baguette. That’s another thing, by the way, don’t ever throw away something thinking you can’t use it! There’s always a use for leftover food. Anyway, grab the bread, cut it in large but bite size chunks, toss in some olive oil and salt and fresh ground pepper, throw on a pan lined with parchment and bake in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the bread is a nice golden brown. Feel free to stir them around halfway through.

In a separate bowl, mix the watercress, roasted red pepper, onion, and a handful of capers, salt and pepper.

Chop off the top of the garlic and before you peel it, rub it on the inside of a separate bowl. Pull the bread out of the oven and toss into this bowl. Half the tomatoes and lightly squeeze the juice over the bowl of bread before roughly dicing. Toss the diced tomatoes in the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss together and set aside.

Next, in your cast iron skillet over medium high heat…throw in a couple tablespoons of butter and grill the shrimp with a little minced garlic. The shrimp will become opaque when it is done. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!! It should still be soft, not rubbery.

Toss the watercress mixture and the bread mixture together and add the mozzarella. Arrange on a platter and top with the shrimp. Serve immediately!

Note: You can add basil, grilled asparagus, change up the greens, etc. You just want the bread to be a main ingredient. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. I promise it will be good the next day and even the next!

Panzanella Salad

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

day-old French or sourdough bread, cubed
olive oil
watercress
ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
roasted red peppers, diced
sweet onion, sliced very thin (vidalia if you can get them)
capers
garlic
butter
shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt & pepper
fresh mozzarella, cut in chunks

Preheat oven to 350º

Cut day-old bread into large bite size chunks. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

In a large bowl, mix the watercress, roasted red pepper, onion, and a handful of capers, add a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper.

Chop the garlic in half and in a separate bowl rub the garlic inside the bowl and add the hot bread. Halve the tomatoes and squeeze the juice over the bread. Dice and add to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss.

Melt a couple tablespoons of unsalted butter (always unsalted. always.) in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Throw in the shrimp and a little bit of minced garlic. Cook until the shrimp is opaque but be careful not to overcook.

Toss the watercress and bread mixtures together and with chunks of fresh mozzarella and arrange on a platter. Top with shrimp.

Enjoy!

adapted from Chuck Hughes‘ Panzanella Bread Salad

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