Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

All ingredients are approximate depending on your taste.
  • 4 cups of fresh homegrown tomatoes cut in wedges and quartered (this could include cherry and yellow pear sliced in half)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives sliced in half
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves torn or cut in strips
  • 2 T crumbled blue, gorgonzola or feta cheese (optional)
  • 2 to 3 cups homemade croutons (recipe to follow)

  • 2 T balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove pressed garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In small bowl or jar combine the vinegar, lemon juice, pressed garlic, salt, pepper .  Wisk in the olive oil until well combine.
  2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onion, olives, crumbled cheese and basil leaves. This can be done several hours ahead - cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the croutons and the balsamic/olive oil dressing.  Toss until well combined allowing the croutons to soak up some of the dressing.  Additional salt and pepper may to added to taste.
Homemade Croutons

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F

About 4 cups artisan bread torn into approximately 1 inch pieces.
     Ciabatta, sourdough or pugliese work well. 
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed
1 tsp. salt

  1. In a large frying pan, add olive oil and garlic. 
  2. When olive oil is hot add croutons and quickly toss. 
  3. Lower heat and continue to toss the bread until olive oil has been equally distributed into the bread. 
  4. When the bread begins to turn a golden brown remove frying pan from heat and put into the 200 degree oven. 
  5. Turn off heat and let croutons dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Croutons should be crunchy but not completely dried.
  6. Store unused croutons in air tight container.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Basil, Creamy Blue Cheese and Aged Balsamic

An easy, delicious appetizer, this recipe was adapted from a recipe contributed by Stuart Brioza in Food and Wine Magazine. Nectarines can also be used in place of peaches. Also would also be a delightful addition to a summer spinach salad.

16 thin slices of pancetta
2 medium freestone peaches— halved, pitted, cut into 8 wedges each
8 tsp. creamy blue cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
16 basil leaves 
1 tablespoon olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


1.  Spread a small amount of blue cheese (approximately 1/4 - 1/2 tsp) on wedge of peach.

2.  Lay the prsociutto slices out on a work surface. Set a peach wedge at the edge of each slice, season with salt and pepper and top with a basil leaf. Roll up the pancetta to enclose the peaches.

3. Arrange on broiler pan, brush with a little olive oil and broil for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add half of the wrapped peaches and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the prosciutto is browned about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining peaches.

4. Lightly drizzle the peaches with aged balsamic vinegar and serve.