For the best of summer fresh flavors, Chef Michael shares his recipe for Heirloom Tomato Panzanella. This recipe offers maximum taste with minimal effort for those warm days that call for a cooler dish.
2 each crusty baguette, torn, bite sized
1 cucumber, seeded, diced
1 fennel, julienne roasted
1 medium red onion, julienne roasted
2 heirloom tomatoes (such as brandywines or mixed baby tomatoes halved), large dice
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 tbs black pepper, fresh cracked
1 tsp chili flakes
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup asiago cheese
1/4 cups Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cups fresh basil, chopped
Tear baguette into bite sized pieces and toss with one half of the olive oil. Toast in a preheated 325 degree oven until the bread is crispy like croutons. Remove from oven, let cool and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Add the vegetables to the bread and thoroughly toss together with the remaining olive oil and sherry vinegar. You will notice that the larger heirloom tomatoes will release a lot of juice and will add a great tomato flavor to the bread. The smaller tomatoes will add a nice sweetness. Let this mixture sit for approximately ½ hour and then add the herbs cheese and black pepper.
The Panzanella can be mixed about 2 hours ahead of serving and will serve 10-12 people