Panzanellamania

I had heard of this Italian dish and it always sounded nice. But we don’t eat a lot of bread so therefore we rarely have stale bread. It never came to be. And it seems silly to buy something just so it could get stale. We’ve made many tomato basil cheese etc salads but the stale, crusty bread hadn’t joined the party. So…..with the perfect storm of house guests last weekend who didn’t eat everything we bought (including a delicious, now hard as a shoe, Berkshire Mountain Bakery baguette), beautiful ripe Wolfe Spring Farm tomatoes bursting with juice, extra roasted WSF garlic sitting around, uneaten boiled WSF corn that was in the fridge for a day or two, fresh parsley, basil, and chives from our garden. I came to understand the true origin and beauty of this dish. Cut it all up, toss it all together with whatever vinegar turns you on (I used white balsamic the first time and it was a little timid. Then, good old supermarket red wine vinegar and it was just right), olive oil, salt and pepper (I also added little bit of minced WSF jalapeño for pizazz and some cubed pressed tofu for protein) let it sit for 10 minutes or so until the bread softens a little in the juices of the tomatoes , vinegar and oil, and BOOM, dinnuh! and lunch, and a snack. I was possessed by this fresh, quick, flavorful assembly of stuff lying around. I ate so much of it. I think it would be great with a little red onion, fresh cheese, anything you have left over that does’t seem too gross to put in. My guess is that the corn is not authentic but I adapted the dish to our region. Even though a dish may be common, tried and true, or part of the popular repertoire, it still feels new and exciting when we discover it, even “invent” it, for ourselves, doesn’t it? I think this is one of the great joys of cooking.

Got Bread?

Comments

  1. I love cooking the way that you did! I open the fridge and see what I have a dab of and what else needs to be used. That’s the fun of it.

    • Dan Doern says:

      Glad I’m not alone! That’s the fun of it. Though I must admit, I’ve had a few spectacular flops using the “what’s in the fridge” method of meal prep.

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