Monday, June 1, 2015

International Cooking Challenge: Italy - Panzanella

Finally, we are back to the International Cooking Challenge!

The last time that I chose countries for the International Cooking Challenge, we chose randomly.  We ended up with places that I wanted to cook cold weather food for (I'm looking at you, Czech Republic!), and it was hot out... I had no motivation to follow through.

This time, The Boy and I sat down and looked at recipes, doing some brainstorming about where we would want to cook from.

We decided to go with Italy first.  I looked around, and I saw that Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan summer dish.  I have always wanted to try panzanella, but have neither prepared nor prepared it before.  What an opportunity to expand our horizons!

The Boy loved most of it, but thought there were too many tomatoes (though he ate them).  The Girl was not a huge fan of the basil.  I don't know where I've gone wrong with her.  lol.

Personally, I loved it, and I would absolutely make it again.

(Modified from

4 c cubed stale bread (I used a ciabatta baguette - this was wonderful!)
1/4 c olive oil
sea salt to taste
3 c (or more) halved cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom rainbow cherry tomatoes)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 c coarsely chopped basil

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Toss the bread with about 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until the croutons are lightly browned and crunchy,

Halve tomatoes and combine in a large bowl with the remainder of the olive oil, vinegars, garlic, shallots, and basil.  When croutons are cooled, add them to the salad.  Allow to sit a couple of minutes before serving.  

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