Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Panzanella

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Californians are absolutely spoiled rotten. While the rest of the country sweat it out in record heat waves, we've been enjoying temperate and comfortable weather all summer long. It's 76 and fabulous every day here. Another great thing about California is the quality and abundance of fresh produce. Since moving back to the Peninsula, we've been reunited with my favorite local grocery store -- the Milk Pail in Mountain View. It is always well-stocked with the freshest local produce and some exotic finds as well.

(Now if we can just do something about the horrible traffic, high cost of living and state budget shortfalls...)

When you have access to amazing produce, dinner practically cooks itself. I made this super simple panzanella with the freshest seasonal vegetables and added some canned ingredients. This dish offers so many different textures and tastes -- each bite has a different combination of the sweet tomato, crunchy cucumber, tangy lemon vinaigrette, creamy cannellini beans and fragrant basil.

For this recipe, you'll need:
  • 1 15-ounce can of white navy beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 medium/large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 4 or 5 medium cucumbers, cut into half-inch slices with skin on
  • 1/2 cup of basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup of Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of capers, drained
  • half a loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes and toasted
  • juice from two lemons
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 spring of fresh thyme, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Whisk to combine lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lemon vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for half an hour before serving.


So easy and so delicious. And no stove required.

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