~ Mary ~
The first time I’d ever tried this salad was 1997 when we were opening a series of cafe`s at 3M in Minnesota. A visiting Chef/Manager from Chicago, Steve, was helping fill the mile long salad bar and this salad was showing off front and center. I’d never seen anything like it before!
Like most Chefs, Steve was eager to tell us of the salad’s origin and it’s components – an Italian peasant’s way to use up day old bread. Peasant shmeasant – We say FULL – colorful, delightful & flavorful!
Minnesota came and went right along with the salad. We eventually moved to Chicago and found a great local brew pub called “Mikes” with the best pub menu EVER! It had among other items – the BEST wings (several different kinds), awesome burgers served with tots, fresh salads in homemade cracker bowls even crab cakes came out of a shoe-box kitchen. It had the greatest neighborhood atmosphere and we partook of its delights frequently (we miss it dearly)! One night we met one of the owners – it was Steve! It had been five years since we’d seen him in MN and it took a little memory cajoling on all our parts but the Panzanella Salad brought it all back for us.
Anyway – back to making the salad. I grilled up a TON of veggies for this and the gazpacho.
If you’ve seen my little coal grill you’d understand why it took me forever to grill all these veggies!!
Now there is no need to grill the veggies for this salad – it tastes equally delicious without all the fuss. I just like the smoky flavor the wood coal imparts.
1/2 – 3/4 Loaf of Day Old French Bread torn and tossed with Olive Oil and Garlic
I toasted mine on the grill because it was fresh and it needed to get “old”
1/2 Cup Small Julienne Romano Cheese
Mixed together with veggies of choice here’s what I used:
Tomatoes – 2-3 Large ones diced or a pint of small ones left whole
1-2 Sliced Onions – I used Red and Vadalia
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives Chopped or Whole
1-2 Diced Peppers – Red and Green
1 Diced Squash – Yellow and/or Green
Handful of each:
Fresh Chopped Herbs – Basil, Oregano, Parsley (a MUST!)
Toss everything together with this
1/4 – 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Champagne or Tarragon Vinegar
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
Toss with salad and sprinkle with
Kosher Salt and
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper