There is not much more perfect than summer foods. The exception might be avocados, which are actually in season in winter, which makes no sense to me, but aside from that, summer foods are where it’s at. I found this gorgeousness at the farmers market.
There is nothing better in the summer than a bread salad (except for having the windows open in the apartment and have a strange man singing opera right outside, which is actually happening right now. He might be crazy, he might be an actual Italian opera singer enjoying the summer weather, either is equally possible in my ‘hood.) So food wise, there is nothing better than a bread salad. It is so simple, and so awesomely delicious. It starts like this…
I like to make panzanella with croutons rather than “raw” bread cubes. I softened some garlic in olive oil over low heat to flavor the oil, I threw in the bread crumbs and let them get brown and toasty. They went into a large bowl with some very thinly sliced onion and some salt and pepper. I cut each tomato into pieces and threw them in the bowl. I also added the kernals from two ears of corn, and a white nectarine and a white peach sliced (I only had one of each, so I added them both.) I added some fresh mozzarella from the farmers market, and chiffonade of basil finished it off. I dressed a small bowl of it very simply with sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (I didn’t dress the whole thing – leftovers will keep better without dressing.)
This salad is perfect and easy, and great for picnics and potlucks. It would be a great side for steak or burgers on the grill, or you could add some chicken to it for a one dish lunch. It gets better as it sits for a while, because juices from everything that goes into it gets absorbed by the bread – that’s why I like to use toasted bread, it doesn’t get super soggy right away. You could add some peppers, cucumbers, chiles if you want to spice it up, whatever you would like. The basic tomato and bread starter is a vehicle for all sorts of combinations. The options are endless!