Wednesday, May 5, 2010

spring panzanella

The very first dinner I blogged about here was a birthday party for my friend Jamie. Jamie and I went to high school together and although we've remained close over the years, we haven't lived in the same city since graduation. Which was quite awhile ago. Ahem.

One of the best pieces of news I've gotten all year was that Jamie was moving to New York for a job. He arrived a few weeks ago and last weekend, we had lunch together. While it wasn't nearly as elaborate as that birthday party menu, somehow that felt right. I will be seeing lots of him now, so there's no need to go crazy making dozens of cupcakes in his honor.

Instead, Jamie, Dan, and I sat around our living room and drank iced green tea. As we caught up, I whipped up a springy bread salad with goat cheese, snap peas, asparagus, basil, cucumber and a mustard vinaigrette. It was very tasty, almost as fast to make as it was to eat. Everyone cleaned their bowls very quickly and I didn't have anything else in the house to serve.

Luckily, this gave us an excuse to go out for a piece of pie. I'm thinking about making less food from now on so we can always do this.  

Spring panzanella
(Serves 3 to 4 people as a side dish or very light main course)

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 baguette cut into bite-sized cubes (about 6 cups)
1 cucumber, diced into small cubes
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup basil, julienned
1 cup goat cheese crumbles or Goat gouda, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 shallot, sliced thin
3 Tbsp. Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Toss the asparagus with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl, then spread them out on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until tender. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat and toss in the bread cubes. Toast the bread, constantly stirring to keep them from burning. When they are golden brown, remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the bread with a pinch of salt. Place the bread in a large bowl to cool. 

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Add the cheese, cucumber, snap peas, and roasted asparagus to the bread. Toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.


Colin P. Delaney said...

Can't wait to make this myself! Perfect do the warm weather.

Daniel said...

How many hours are you going to block off to pull this one together, Colin?

Unknown said...

Does that include milking the goat and baking the baguette?

Lisa said...

Donna: Nope and nope!

Unknown said...

Great looking salad.

blueeyedfreckle said...

oh!!! Jamie? as in from soa? I can't remember his last name at the moment, but since I had classes with him from 7th-12th how could I forget him!? how is he?

ans this salad sounds delicious. i need to come visit you in NYC just so I can have one of your delicious meals! (ok and more so I can see you)

Lisa said...

blueeyedfreckle: Yep, the Jamie you remember! He's great--I am so happy he lives here now. And yes, please come to New York so we can hang out!

Unknown said...

This is my favorite recipe for panzanella and I make it ALL the time! Everyone loves it and it's so simple to make.

Lisa said...

Sarah: Thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying it.


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