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Bella Panzanella

July 21, 2011

Panzanella is an Italian salad, traditionally comprised of tomatoes and bread along with other ingredients. You know what – to heck with the prologue. Let me get right to the point – this recipe is absolutely awesome. The Food Network Magazine strikes gold again, this time delivering a fresh, light dish that bursts with flavor. It’s a one-dish complete meal that dazzles the taste buds. The sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers, the saltiness of the salami, the beautiful aroma of the basil, and the crunchy yet chewy bread all play marvelously together, and are tied up nicely by the lemon vinaigrette. The flavor of the veggies is enhanced by grilling them, leaving their texture somewhat firm but tender. The one change I would make is to eliminate the salt from the preparation – the salami adds enough saltiness on its own. Of course you can simply omit the salami for a vegan version of the dish (but then you’ll want to add salt to the veggies). We used a roasted garlic loaf for the bread, but pretty much any thick loaf will do. Serve with some white wine and you’ve got a perfect summer meal. Enjoy!

Grilled Panzanella Salad

(serves 4)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 medium tomatoes, halved

6 scallions

2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 10-ounce loaf ciabatta or semolina bread, halved lengthwise

½ cup torn fresh basil

¼ lb. thinly sliced salami, cut into 2-inch ribbons

Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut-side down until slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking pan. Put the scallions, peppers and zucchini in the same bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread and vegetables until charred, about 2 minutes per side for the bread and scallions and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and zucchini. Transfer to the baking pan and let cool slightly. Cut the scallions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and bread into bite-size pieces; transfer to the bowl. Add the basil, salami, dressing and any juices from the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Eat!

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