Updated 05/05/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Spring Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
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8-12 cups 1-2 inch cubed 3-4 day old country bread (see hints below)
12 large spears asparagus
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and thinly sliced (or some other sweet onion)
olive oil for sauteing veggies
8-ounces cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
1 pint sliced grape tomatoes
4-6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1/2-3/4 cup fresh chopped mint
for the dressing: (see hints below)
generous 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch red pepper flakes
As far as the asparagus goes, snap the lower, tougher ends off of those, and then peel the longer parts if they are on the thicker side. Then cut them crosswise into 1-inch long sections.
Peel 1 large Vidalia onion and then cut that in half from top to bottom, cut each half in half again through the circumference and then cut those crosswise into thin pieces.
Add a splash of olive oil to a large pan on the stovetop, add the onions and cook those for 4-5 minutes. Then add the asparagus and cook that for another 4-5 minutes and take the pan off of the heat.
Use a mixing bowl to combine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil with a scant 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, add a little dollop of Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and whisk it up.
At this point you'll want to add the asparagus and onions to the bowl with the cubed bread, add the sliced tomatoes, cubed fresh mozzarella, chopped Romaine and fresh chopped mint. Add the dressing and toss everything to combine.
12 cups of cubed bread makes a giant salad, feel free to cut this recipe in half but also feel free to add a more generous amount of the other ingredients to the lesser amount of bread.
Use bottled Italian dressing as needed instead of making your own.