Bread Salad

There used to be a great restaurant in the Capital Hill area of Seattle that was mediterranean, El Greco. It was there that I was first introduced to bread salad, or panzanella as it’s also known as. I was such a big fan that I have since recreated it at home all the time. It’s pretty simple but one of the keys to this is to toast the bread first, then oil it and rub it with cloves of garlic. WARNING! This has a lot of garlic in it. But you can always cut it back. This recipe also uses a couple of what I consider essential kitchen items. First a really good knife designed for veggies, especially tomatoes. I love my¬†Wusthof Classic Wave, Black. Unlike a flat edged knife, this one won’t “tear” your tomatoes. The other is a chopper. I’m not a big fan of devices that only have 1 purpose but this is an exception. It does a much better job than I can mincing garlic. I have a Cuisinart Stainless Steel Chopper, which is pretty inexpensive. Again you can always modify the amounts in this for the most part to suit your taste. Enjoy!

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Bread Salad

  • 4 slices of good bread, cute 1 inch thick
  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes (or similar), quartered or halved
  • 1 bunch of basil, chiffonade*
  • 1 bulb garlic, keep about 4 of the largest cloves whole and mince the rest
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

In an oven set to broil and toast each side of the bread until golden brown. While still warm brush each side with 1/4 cup olive oil and then brush each side with the large, intact cloves of garlic.

In a large bowl add the quartered or halved tomatoes, minced garlic and basil. *So what does chiffonade mean? Basically take the basil leaves, roll them up like a cigar and cut thin slices. Mix together the remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; I just use a jar to do this. Pour into the bowl.

Cut the bread into cubes, roughly the same size as the tomatoes. Add them and toss, just before you service as you don’t want them to get soggy.

Greek Salad

This is one of the few recipes where I haven’t modified it in some way or another. Mostly because it’s simple and doesn’t need to be changed. The key is to buy good, authentic Greek feta. Not American, not cows milk, real sheep or goat milk feta. I’m lucky, living in Seattle, we have a wonderful place call Big John’s Pacific Food Importers. You can pick up authentic Greek feta and if you bring your own container they’ll give you brine (which makes it last longer). If you let this sit overnight it’s even better the next day. Enjoy!

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Greek Salad

  • 1 cucumber (I like English)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 lbs Greek feta
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup wine vinegar (white or red)
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced or use paste)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

Dice the cucumber, peppers, onion and tomatoes so they’re all about the same size. Cut the olives in half and crumble the feta, combine all of them in a large bowl. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper (I use a jar and just shake it up). Pour over the veggies and serve.