Panzanella Salad
Growing up, leftover cornbread’s place was in a glass and covered with milk, until I ran across this recipe. This heavy salad is awesome as a side for any grilled meat, especially beef.
Yield: 4 Servings
2 cups cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 tomatoes (3 pounds), halved crosswise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup caper berries, halved (you could also use pickled okra halved or 1/4 cup regular capers)
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
arugula or romaine (optional)
For Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If cornbread is sturdy enough, toss gently in the bowl with garlic and oil mixture. If cornbread is crumbly, simply place the cornbread cubes in a flat dish and pour oil over the top. Place cornbread cubes on a sheet pan in a single layer and bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For Salad:
Roast red and yellow bell peppers on racks of gas burners over high heat, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes (or broil peppers on a broiler pan about 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes). Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let stand 20 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, peel peppers, discarding stems and seeds, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Whisk together vinegars, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking. Add tomatoes, onion and caper berries to vinaigrette, tossing to coat, and marinate 10 to 15 minutes.
Add roasted peppers, cucumbers, basil, parsley, croutons and arugula (if using) to bowl and toss.