As my husband Michael explained in his last blog, we’ve been reaping the rewards of our wonderful, organic tomato garden all summer. So as the season approaches its unofficial end this Labor Day, I thought I’d pass on an idea for a tomato salad that you can easily make for any barbecue you might be attending over the long weekend. But be aware: For this dish I toss aside my healthy-chef hat and instead put on my cheese-lover’s beret—and enjoy every bite of the delicious decadence called Panzanella!
Panzanella is an incredibly easy salad to put together, but its unique blend of ingredients delivers a dreamy diversion from the ordinary. Here’s all you do to make it: Cut up an abundant mix of heirloom tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Choose a variety of different color tomatoes to make your salad beautiful. Lightly salt the tomatoes to have them “bleed” their flavors. Here comes the decadence: Cut up some burrata (a heavenly creamy mozzarella) into bite-size chunks and add to your bowl. If you can’t easily get burrata, use whole-milk mozzarella. (I love to eat healthy and urge you to do so as well, but trust me: This is not the dish to skimp on. Burrata is the best!) I then toast slices of French or Italian bread, let them cool, and then toss in the bowl the small pieces I’ve torn the bread into. But if you’re looking to save a few steps, feel free to use fat-free croutons instead. Next, add fresh chopped basil and drizzle everything with olive oil. I use an amazing Meyer lemon olive oil I’ve fallen in love with this summer from a company called Katz (www.katzandco.com), but any high-quality olive oil will do the trick. Toss everything together and enjoy!
Have a wonderful Labor Day, and email me your thoughts on the salad if you get a chance to make it!