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Summer Panzanella Salad


Nothing says summer like a good tomato salad and the classic Italian panzanella is my favorite of them all. The juices of the tomato and olive oil soften the croutons without turning them to mush. This version is enriched with mozzarella to give it some protein, fennel for some crunch, and plenty of greens to fill it out. Serve simply on its own as a light lunch or pair it with grilled fish or steak for an elegant meal.

Leslie

Ingredients  

  • Serves 4

  • 3 ripe heirloom tomatoes, medium
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups Macrina Croutons
  • 1 fennel bulb, medium
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 12 fresh mozzarella balls (cherry-sized Ciliegine are ideal)
  • 3 cups of seasonal greens such as arugula, kale or rapini greens



Directions  

Core the tomatoes and cut into medium dice. Place in medium bowl with juice and all. Add diced garlic, salt and olive oil. Mix together and let macerate for 30 minutes.

Add croutons to the tomato mixture and and toss to coat. Let rest to absorb juices for 15 minutes.

Cut fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Slice thinly and add to tomato mixture. Add basil.

Just before serving, toss in the mozzarella and seasonal greens. Taste for seasoning. It may need a sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!


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