These days I haven’t been craving much meat. Perhaps it’s the fried chicken indulgence we experienced Friday night, or all the seafood we ate in Maine, but most days all my body wants is a huge salad bursting with summer’s produce and studded with crispy torn bread. In short, a panzanella. A panzanella is a Tuscan tomato and bread salad, traditionally made with stale bread that becomes delicious once again when soaked in vinaigrette. Truth be told, there’s already a panzanella recipe on this site. You should make that one (it’s really really good). But you should also make this one. Not only because it’s really good, but because it has a few little details which really make this version of the classic dish a knockout. First off- the pickled shallots. The pickling method is really simple, and the bright bite of the shallots are perfection against the sweet tomatoes. Second- it’s vegan! No cheese here, and no cheese needed thanks to those beautiful little shallots. And lastly, the tomato “method,” let’s call it. The recipe called for sprinkling the tomatoes with salt and letting them rest so they could release their juices, and then letting them rest (again) in the dressing to release even more of their flavor before mixing the whole salad together. Pretty darn brilliant, and oh so delicious.
Kale Panzanella with Pickled Shallots loosely adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 lbs assorted heirloom tomatoes ( any color)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cups torn country bread (with crust)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 T olive oil
- 3 cups packed chopped kale
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Place tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Transfer 2 T of the shall vinegar to a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper (add more vinegar if you like). Add tomatoes and their juices. Gently toss to coat and let rest for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine bread and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to combine, lightly squeezing the bread so the olive oil really soaks in. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bread is crunchy but still soft in the center.
Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and massage to soften. Add in croutons, tomatoes, and basil and toss gently to combine. Top with pickled shallots and serve immediately.