Friday, July 25, 2014

Zucchini Artichoke Panzanella


Who knew that dried bread soaked in fresh tomato juice could taste so good? The Italians of Tuscany, that's who. Add some roasted zucchini (yes, there's that zucchini again!) and artichoke to amp up the nutrients and boy, oh, boy... this dish is heaven on a plate. Easy, light and perfect for supper on a warm summer evening.

Traditionally, one would use stale bread, but it's just as easy to toast it in the oven prior to putting the dish together. The hard-crusted bread soaks up the juices from the tomatoes for a delectable treat.

Yes, that is WHITE bread you see in that photo. Oh, no! The horror of it all. I didn't have any whole grain Italian bread and my mom, who has recently moved in with us, had brought this loaf up with her. I had these absolutely gorgeous heirloom tomatoes sitting on my window sill... red, yellow and mixed. The bread was begging to be eaten as it was getting stale... stale bread and plump tomatoes? Lightbulb moment! Next time, for sure, I will use a whole grain bread. You should choose a bread that is nice and crusty on the outside, like a rustic, Tuscan loaf.

I hope you will try this dish and enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf whole grain Italian-style bread, cubed into about 1" pieces
  • 2 large RIPE tomatoes, cut into about 1" pieces (the riper the better since ripe tomatoes are juicier and that juice is what makes this dish wonderful)
  • 2 medium-sized zucchinis, cut into about 1" pieces
  • 1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (mine was 12 oz.)
  • 1 TBS chopped black olives
  • 1 TBS capers
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped basil plus some whole leaves for garnish
  • small amount of vegetable oil for roasting the veggies


Directions:
  1. After you cube the bread, lay the cubes out on a baking dish and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden and nice and crunchy. Remove and let cool. It's okay if it gets hard while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Increase the oven temp to 425°.
  3. Place the zucchini, artichoke hearts and peeled garlic cloves onto a lightly oiled roasting dish. Toss them around so that they all get a very fine coat of oil. Roast until the zucchini is soft and has a bit of color on it (about 20 minutes). Add a little bit of water if needed half way through to prevent sticking.
  4. Remove the veggies from the oven and let cool a bit. You can serve them warm, room temp or cold.
  5. Toss all the ingredients together and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
  6. Garnish with some fresh basil leaves.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,









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