Last week on a trip to the market I found the most ripe, delicious, local, organic heirloom tomatoes. I've been waiting months and months for that day. It's finally here. #SUMMER
I went to the market that day because A - I needed some produce, and B - I needed some inspiration. A trip to the market is always the best for that. I walked around aimlessly for about 30 minutes before I decided what I was going to make for Michael and his sister that night.
When I was walking around, I stumbled across the most amazing assortment of herb plants. Every kind of basil you could think of and then some ... purple basil, thai basil, spicy basil ... you name it. And mint. So many kinds of mint. I could not resist buys several kind ... of everything. And now our backyard is adorned with some unique varietals of herbs, and I love it.
With the purchase of those new herbs and those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, it was only natural that I would be making some sort of salad. But I wanted something a little more than a salad. Panzanella. I wanted to make a panzanella.
If I were to #hashtag this recipe it would look something like this:
#summer! #yum #beachfood #gluten-free #picnictime #healthy #vegan #YUM #breakoutthegrill #cornbreadinsaladisreallygreatandevenbetterwhenitisgrilled
Last summer, panzanella salads were my go-to beach picnic food. I would throw some stale bread together with whatever leftover vegetables we had in the fridge and dress it with nothing more than some really good olive oil, some really good vinegar, and minced garlic. By the time we had made it to the beach and laid our picnic blanket down, the bread had sopped up just the right amount of oil + vinegar + garlic. So darn good.
I've been trying to stay away from white bread recently, so homemade gulten-free cornbread seemed like the perfect, if not better, substitute to throw into this panzanella. Grilling the cornbread makes it a bit crispy on the outside, mimicking that stale bread texture. It's pretty awesome.
You can make a panzanella with just about any kind of vegetable you have in your fridge. Later in the season, the summer vegetables like corn and zucchini would go so well in this salad.
I'll let you in on a little cornbread secret. Bob's Red Mill makes a really great gluten-free cornbread mix ... so if you want to make this in a flash, you can use that instead of making it completely from scratch. I am always one to say that from scratch is best, but if you want to take a shortcut for this ... I won't judge. I'd just be so happy that you made this grilled cornbread panzanella.
grilled panzanella salad
enough for about 4 people
for the cornbread: follow this recipe here (you can use the rosemary and chilies if you like or you can leave them out ... up to you)
for the salad:
a couple of handfuls of arugula
a couple of handfuls of spinach
2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced into larger chunks
1 large cucumber, sliced
2 green onions, diced
other optional add ins: fresh corn, zucchini, nuts or seeds such as pepitas or hemp seeds, some micro greens, or anything that is fresh and in season that you have available, this salad is very flexible.
to dress the salad:
a couple tablespoons of really good olive oil
a couple of tablespoons of really good white wine vinegar
about 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- Make the cornbread accordingly to the instructions here. You'll probably want to take it out a few minutes before it is done, since it is going to cook a little more on the grill.
- While the cornbread it cooking, make the dressing and assemble the salad. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and the garlic and set aside. Then, assemble all of the ingredients for the salad and toss together.
- When the cornbread comes out of the oven, allow it to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, slice the cornbread into squares that are a little larger than a crouton, but still bite sized.
- If you are using a grill, heat the grill to medium heat. You can also make this using a grill pan, and if you are doing that heat the grill pan over medium heat.
- Place the cornbread pieces onto the grill or grill pan and cook for a few minutes on each side. They should be nicely toasted on the outside.
- Remove and allow them to cool before adding them to the salad.
- When they've cooled, add them to the salad and dress the salad. It's best to do this about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the bread to soak up the dressing.