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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panzanella Caprese

Another successful girl's dinner! I really love my monthly dinners with Paige and Ashley and every month we seem to up the ante with our food selections (see a few previous dishes here, here, and here). This month, we went with an Italian theme and Paige (along with Ash and I as sous chefs!) made a delightful spring risotto that I'm still dreaming about. I contributed this panzanella caprese salad, and Ash treated us to gelato for dessert!

I halved the recipe below, which serves 6-8, and the three of us had no problem finishing it off. I'm normally not a big fan of croutons, but there's something about the homemade ones that I can't resist! This was a heartier version of your typical caprese salad, but it was so easy to throw together. Funnily enough, none of us had ever had capers before...and all three of us are now caper lovers!

Panzanella Caprese
from Gourmet, May 2009

-1 (18 in) piece of baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
-1 garlic clove
-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-3 tbsp drained capers, chopped
-1 1/2 lb tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks
-1/2 cup chopped basil

1. Preheat oven to 375F with rack in middle. Toss bread with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp each of salt & pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread out in 1 layer. Bake, stirring once, until golden, 12-15 minutes.
2. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in vinegar, capers, and remaining 1/3 cup oil.
3. Add croutons to dressing along with tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, and basil, then toss. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.