Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks:

I absolutely love this recipe from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site ( ) I have sugar snap and snow peas coming out my ears as these 2 plants in my kitchen garden have kicked into overdrive. As my co-worker Steve T. says "I'm pee-d out." :) Usually my pea plants would have produced over a month sooner and wilted in the high temperatures of Portland's "suddenly summer." (In case you don't live here, that's from 70 to 100 degrees this past week) But, it's been a wacky weather spring, eh? With bowls and bowls of fresh picked peas, homegrown basil & thyme I tackled this recipe and was delighted by the colors, textures and taste. The veggies are bright green and the fresh garden herbs a flavorful compliment. It's a winner recipe for late Spring staples: peas & asparagus!

The only adjustments I made were to fit my kitchen-garden situation. I used my snow and sugar snap peas un-shelled, sliced into segments equal to the asparagus bites. And, I substituted baby dinosaur kale leaves for the spinach, because that's what I have growing in my garden. At Heidi's suggestion I used a whole wheat seeded loaf. Mine was a multigrain loaf from Trader Joe's that had wheat, rye, cornmeal, flaxseed, sesame seed and sunflower seeds. The bread was perfect with lots of texture, visual appeal and flavor. It was challenging to not eat the shallot-thyme encrusted bread cubes toasty hot straight out of the oven.

Thank you for this great recipe Heidi!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

1 lb loaf of hearty, day-old, whole wheat bread into 1-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme - just pluck leaves from the sprig
a couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
4 handfuls spinach
1/4 cup small basil leaves
In a large bowl toss the bread with the garlic, shallot, thyme, salt and olive oil. Turn the bread out onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes - or until they are nice and golden and crunchy.

In a cold skillet pour in a splash of olive oil, a splash of water, and a couple pinches of salt. Dial up the heat and when the water starts to bubble stir in the asparagus. Cover, wait about twenty seconds, now add the peas. Cover, wait a few seconds, now add the spinach. Cover and cook just a few more seconds until the spinach starts to collapse just a bit.

Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Now pour the asparagus and peas and all the pan juices over the top of the bread.Give it a good toss, add the basil leaves and toss again. Serve the salad family-style on a big platter.

Makes about 6 - 8 servings.

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