Made this massive summer salad a couple years ago when I had some friends out to the beach house. Sigh, those were the days. Panzanella is generally an italian- tomato and stale bread based salad. But this Ina Garten is like an enchanced greek version. Would be great for picnics- summer bbqs etc.
A Barefoot Contessa Recipe
1 hothouse cucumber [those long ones wrapped in plastic], unpeeled, seeded [cut cucumber in half lengthwise, take a small spoon and run it down the center, scooping out the seeds— this makes the salad less watery], and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved [grocery store was out- so begrudgingly used plum tomatoes– scooped and seeded out the middle]
1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes [i just crumble some]
1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted [i leave pitts in, just cause I like it that way]
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) [i used a multigrain loaf]
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
Croutons. 2 choices here. Ina Stovetop Method: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed. [The first time I made this, I had a bit of a struggle– pan was too small, pile of bread too big- so not toasting- and I had to split into 2 pans. So I’d suggest only single layer of bread. OR Tessa Oven Method: Preheat oven to 400. Toss bread, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Spread in single layer and toast until golden– about 15 minutes
Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl [legit large- this makes a giant salad].
Ina way: For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Tessa way: put all contents in a mason jar, shake vigorously. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.