I was planning on taking something out of the freezer for dinner one night last week, but after seeing this recipe show up on my blog roll, I took a new approach. Everyone keeps talking about how Summer is ending! Summer is ending! First of all, let’s live in the present, shall we? Stop worrying about it getting cold a couple months from now and just be happy to enjoy the season we’re currently experiencing. Filled with basil, heirloom tomatoes, and the grill, this dish embodies all that is good about Summertime eating.
I no longer have a grill and don’t currently own a grill pan, so I had to make a couple tweaks to the recipe that didn’t alter the final result whatsoever. First, get some day old baguette and cube it. I was furious when my grocery store was out of baguette (how dare they!), but I “settled” for some roasted garlic artisan bread that I figured would work since the recipe called for minced garlic. Turns out it was way better this way. I strongly suggest this adaptation: don’t add minced garlic. Instead, find the type of bread I used or [more likely] chop the top off a head of garlic, cover with olive oil, wrap in tin foil, and roast it in the oven for 35-40 minutes. You’ll still have garlic breath, but it’s a little sweeter and has much more depth of flavor than regular garlic. This panzanella is light and breezy so roasted garlic is a much better match than its harsher, raw mama. Once your bread is cubed, drizzle it with olive oil and stick it in the oven til it crisps up a bit (you could do this part on the grill pre-cubing to get those gorgeous grill marks). While the bread is in the oven, chop your rainbow colored, firm, sweet, heirloom tomatoes in large chunks. I’m sorry, but normal tomatoes are just sad compared to these beauties. It’s Summertime and you’ve got a bowlful of tomatoes, so go ahead and throw in some basil while you’re at it. Now it’s time to add your dressing ingredients: olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. No need to complicate things.
While your tomato mix is chillin on the counter and your bread is finishing up, it’s time to prep the final ingredient. I love heirloom tomatoes, but I see plenty of recipes for them this time of year. What I’m not accustomed to seeing is a recipe that uses cheese curds. I’ve never had a curd of any type and thought they existed only in the land of Lil Miss Muffett. Or Wisconsin…same thing. Is there anything in Wisconsin other than cheese curds and the Packers? Who cares, now that I’ve tried cheese curds, I could move there. It’s just good, cheesy cheese. It tasted of America ::sigh::. The recipe called for the curds to be grilled, but in my case, this meant I used an oiled skillet. Let them get melty on the bottom but still in tact on the top so they can be mixed into the salad as chunks.
I started by making myself a sensible portion of this salad…and then I ate the whole thing. Meaning I ate what a family of four would normally consume. Yup, sounds like me.