When I think about autumn, one of the first things that comes to mind is the multicolored mosaic of leaves that decorate the trees. The way the sun glistens and highlights their colors. The way they softly sway in the breeze. And the way they gently float down to the earth, peppering the ground with their prettiness, delighting our eyes.
While I was out and about the other day, I came across these beautiful heirloom tomatoes in shades reminiscent of fall's leaves, and all their splendid colors, and thought they would be perfect for an autumn-inspired meal...Panzanella Salad.
I love the flavors of this salad, but I especially love all the bread! Each time I make it, I gather up all my recipes, do a little comparing and then adjust things to my liking. Here's my current version...
- 1 loaf dense rustic bread
- olive oil for coating bread
- 1 European seedless cucumber
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1/2 small red onion
- 10 to 16 ounces of small tomatoes such as cherry, grape and yellow pear
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- feta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat both sides of the bread with olive oil, cut it up into cubes and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Peel cucumber, halve it and cut into slices. Dice seeded yellow pepper and red onion. Halve tomatoes and chiffonade basil. Toss all together along with the olives.
To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil and garlic in a bowl.
Add the feta, bread and dressing to the vegetables and toss. Let stand for about 15 minutes, serve at room temperature and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Hopefully, I explained everything properly. I should also say, I don't usually add all of the dressing to the salad since I don't like my salads too saturated. I just kind of eyeball it depending on how much bread there is...sometimes I tend to eat a lot of the cubes before they end up in the salad ;)
Well, my lovelies, that's all I have for today. I hope you have a happy, sunshine-filled weekend. The weather here is supposed to be gorgeous and I'm looking forward to that.