Summer Panzanella Salad

So I grew up in northern california, which most of you know, and let me just say it gets blazing hot in the summer.  When it gets to be over 100 degrees multiple days in a row there is not many types of food your body will willingly consume besides heavily iced drinks.  Well, salad happens to be one of them.  I’ve described the nostalgia of salads like my chinese chicken salad recipe in a previous post, but there really is nothing that makes it feel like summer to be than actually craving a salad multiple days in a row due to the overwhelming heat.

I’m going to be quite honest with all of you, I have absolutely zero idea where I got the idea of making a panzanella salad.  Seriously, sometimes people ask how I decide what to make and in all seriousness I think some it I think up in dreams.  So after deciding I wanted to make a panzanella salad, which for the record is a salad with fresh vegetables and big cubes of toasted bread…no leaves, I began scouring my favorite food blogs and of course pinterest to find a good recipe to follow.  Well after my thorough research I came to the conclusion that there really is no recipe for a panzanella salad, ok there obviously is if I found it on food blogs and such but what I mean by that is, you just throw whatever fresh vegetables you want together with some bread and voila!

*Sidenote*: I discovered squash blossoms about a year ago and love adding them to salads.  I also have a         fantastic post to come for goat cheese stuffed, fried squash blossoms…but thats for later.  The whole blossom is edible and I also added the mini zucchini that you see at the end of the blossom in the picture to this salad.  I have never seen the blossom in a market (maybe a specialty market) but they are reliably at the farmers market until mid august.

This salad, being so easy and more ‘hearty’ with the chunks of bread is a recipe you must make this summer. Whether you make it as a main course of a side salad is up to you but with a salad so fresh and light but also filling, youll start dreaming about it too.  And if by some change I havn’t convinced you….just look at the pictures.

Summer Panzanella Salad 

Ingredients

  • 3 c diced baguette or rustic loaf
  • 15 mini yellow squash  cut in half
  • 15 mini zucchini (see picture of squash blossom above) sliced lengthwise
  • 15 squash blossoms (from the mini zucchini) chopped
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes (you can substitute cherry tomatoes too)
  • 1/2 shallot sliced thin
  • 1-2 tbl capers
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Lemon mustard vinaigrette 

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place cubed bread on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven to toast, about 20 min.  Rotate halfway to make sure the bread is toasted evenly.  Remove from oven when toasted, set aside.
  3. In 1 tbl olive oil saute the mini zucchini and mini yellow squash until just under fork tender, about 10 min. Remove and set in large bowl to cool.
  4. Chop the tomatoes into chunks or slice the cherry tomatoes in half if you are substituting.  Add the the cooled squash.
  5. Slice the shallot thin and add to the large bowl.
  6. Add the capers to the bowl.
  7. Mix up the vinaigrette and add to the large bowl, toss to coat.
  8. When you are ready to serve, mix in the toasted bread and toss again to coat the bread in the vinaigrette.  Top with chopped squash blossoms and enjoy!

{I got both of these mini squash at the farmers market but I have seen the mini zucchini alone and the mini yellow squash at the supermarket}

{Slightly blurry saute action}

{The finished plate!}

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