The scent of summer is laced in the warm evening breeze that’s floating through my open kitchen window. A familiar seasonal scent that conjures visions of lush salads, grilled stone fruit, cherry pie and fresh made sangria. Weekend evenings are spent shuffling between the garden and the kitchen, washing my fresh produce in preparation for dinner, while Spotify is playing softly in the background some of our new favorite summer music mixes. Oh how I love these barefoot, slightly warm and breezy evenings.
This evenings meal is simple and fresh. A Summer Garden Panzanella Salad. I call it a Summer Garden Panzanella because it’s not quite traditional in that it includes whatever is in season in my garden, along with the usual suspects of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella.
On occasion I’ll slow roast the tomatoes and peppers for a richer, sweeter flavor and sometimes I simply slice it up fresh and toss it all together; using any additional fresh herbs I might have on hand. I think Panzanella is best when served fresh, however, I always toast my bread cubes so the leftovers hold well one more day in the fridge (If by chance we have leftovers).
I’ve listed my basic recipe but you can certainly customize to your tastes. Panzanella recipes can be found with all sorts of vinaigrettes, but I like it best with the traditional balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a splash of lemon.
Cheers to walking around barefoot, chilled sangria, warm breezes, summer sunshine and all things delicious from the garden!
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
- 1 loaf ciabatta, focaccia, or your favorite loaf, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1-2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sliced fresh red, yellow or orange peppers (optional)
- 1 cup baby asparagus tips (optional)
- 1 cup sliced cucumber (optional)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red or sweet onion (optional, for a little zing)
- 1 container of small mozzarella balls (Bocconcini)
- 1 large bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade or chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Squeeze of fresh lemon
- Good quality aged balsamic vinegar
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Grated parmesan for garnish
Serve this salad as a lunch or light dinner or pair it with your favorite grilled fish, chicken, pork or beef.