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Monday, September 3, 2012

"Poor-Man's Salad"

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/  News contributor
Many of us entertain the last weekend of summer, otherwise known as Labor Day Weekend. For me, this weekend is all about easy cooking, so I can spend as much time as possible with family and friends.
It’s also one of the best times to stop by a farmers market, because there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables this time of the year. My easy panzanella salad recipe is a crowd-pleaser, and you can find all of the ingredients at a farmers market this weekend.

A traditional panzanella salad uses day-old leftover bread, and was once considered a poor man’s salad. I like to grill mine, so that it still has a nice crunch after it soaks up the dressing. Of course, you can add other vegetables if you like, but I like to keep it simple to let the fresh vegetables really shine.
Farmers Market Panzanella Salad
Makes 6 appetizer portions 
Half loaf of Italian bread
2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus some for brushing the bread
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly cracked pepper
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups of cucumber, seeds removed and cubed
Half cup of red onion, thinly sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 cup of arugula
Quarter cup of basil, chopped
Slice the bread, brush each side with olive oil and place it on a heated grill. Once the bread has crisped on one side, flip it and grill on the other side as well. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once the bread has cooled, cube it and add to the mixture. Drizzle with the dressing, toss and serve immediately. Enjoy those summer flavors.