Panzanella has been one of my favorite things ever since my friend Missy first made it for a dinner party a few years ago. This was a fun way to use some roasted veggies, and it made a great side dish for some steamed mussels. Originally from Gourmet, I didn’t do too much to this…cut the olive oil to make it a little healthier, and I don’t care for capers so we substituted olives. I did leave out the beans because I really wanted a less filling salad. That said, beans included and this would be a full meal. Recipe below is as printed. This would be great with any vegetables you have on-hand. We’ll be repeating this one, and I think it will be especially good when the summer veggies grow.
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 (12-inch) lengths of crusty baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (12 cups)
- 3/4 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
- 3 tablespoons capers (packed in brine), rinsed, drained, and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 (19-oz) can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb lightly salted fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife, then transfer to a small bowl and add 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Put bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons garlic oil, tossing to combine, then divide bread between 2 large shallow baking pans, arranging in 1 layer. Toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Leave oven on.
Gently toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil (not garlic oil), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then arrange in 1 layer on a large shallow baking pan. Toss green beans in same bowl with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then arrange in 1 layer in another large shallow baking pan. Roast vegetables, switching position of pans halfway through roasting and shaking pans once or twice, until tomatoes are very tender but not falling apart and beans are just tender and browned in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Cool vegetables in pans until ready to assemble salad.
While vegetables roast, add vinegar to remaining garlic oil along with capers, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk to combine well.
Put green beans, tomatoes (along with any pan juices), toasted bread, beans, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl, then drizzle with dressing and stir to combine well. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to develop, then stir just before serving.