Yes, we are on a salad kick. This is because I gained five pounds eating funeral food and another two when Bunny and I took our whirlwind trip through the Presidential Court cafeteria at UT, feeling compelled to stop at each and every food station for a sample.

Since it’s tomato season, thank goodness, a panzanella salad is in order. Panzanella is just a peasant salad, really, that originated in Italy. It’s made with vine-ripe tomatoes and stale bread. Sometimes cucumbers, onions and basil are added, but I think that’s veering precariously close to gazpacho. Since Chez Mayhew rarely has stale bread sitting around, I make my salad with homemade croutons. Once you make your own croutons, you’ll never buy them again, I promise. Just take some sturdy rustic bread, any type, and cut it into cubes. Douse it in olive oil, sprinkle salt and oregano on top (or any herb you like) and bake them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they’re crispy and beginning to brown. Obviously, use them on regular salads, but you can also crumble them for casserole toppings or just serve them in a bowl alongside drinks. They’re that good.

So for the panzanella salad, I’m almost embarrassed to call this a recipe. It’s not. It’s not even a procedure. Take a few tomatoes and chop them up. Add an equal amount of croutons. You don’t need any additional salt because the croutons are salty enough. Mix the tomatoes and croutons and let the salad sit for a few minutes so the tomato juice begins to soak into the croutons.

And that is it. It is super fresh, super delicious and super easy.


2 Comments

  1. ELVA THOMPSON
    ELVA THOMPSONReply
    August 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    My mother used to slice the bread into strips before toasting. She served these in a napkin lined basket ,when she served soup. I like to offer corn muffins with soup. We use Lewis Grizzard’s cornbread recipe.
    The salad sounds delicious, vine ripened tomatoes — yum !

  2. julie
    julieReply
    August 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    there are witnesses to the fact that I brought a higher maintenance version of this fabulous entree to the SPW Social last night. I commented that it was for you that I had made it. Phyllis (Hasken) Thompson and I arrived a little late so I ended up taking most of it home and ate nearly the entire thing myself. I’m not complaining. That thing is awesome. Bread. Tomatoes. No brainer. Yum

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