What a beautiful salad! Chunks of fresh, fresh cucumber, red or yellow peppers, thinly sliced shallots, and parsley and basil marinate overnight in a zesty, sparkling dressing of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, capers, and anchovies tossed with slightly stale Portuguese, French, or Italian bread. If anchovies scare you, don't worry - you can't even taste them, unless you triple the amount ( which I do). Even then, I add one or two fillets on top. If you're heading into fall and winter recipes, toss this together, marinate, and inhale the scent of summer. This is a wonderful salad for packing for work, as a side to dinner, or well, just anytime. ( I had it for breakfast! How could I not, after inhaling that fantastic cloud of deliciousness?)
This tends to be a toss-together recipe, but I'll try to make a real recipe here.
*Note: I use V-8 juice for the marinade, now that our summer tomatoes are gone. If you have really good home grown, sun ripened tomatoes, just cut up a handful , toss in the blender, and strain the juice onto the bread salad.
Italian Bread Salad ( Panzanella)
Serves 3 or 4.
3 T. red wine vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
3 anchovy fillets, diced ( I use 6)
1 T. capers, drained
freshly cracked pepper
1 t. dried basil, or 1 T. fresh slivered basil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
about two cups cubed slightly stale bread ( make it a nice quality Portuguese, French,or Italian bread)
1/2 a red or yellow bell pepper, roughly diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced very thinly, or 1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 T. roughly chopped parsley
4 T. V-8 juice or strained juices from chopped tomatoes
In a medium bowl, place the red wine vinegar, the anchovies, salt and pepper, garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, basil, and the capers. Smush with a spoon, and mix well.
Add the bread chunks, the red or yellow pepper dice, the cucumber and tomatoes, the shallot or red onion, and the parsley. Toss several times. Drizzle the V-8 juice or tomato juices on top, and toss again. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
In the morning, toss the ingredients together, taste, and add more salt, pepper, basil, or capers and anchovies as you wish. Feel free to add little mozzarella balls, scallions, or Italian canned tuna, canned in oil - or?