Grilled Nectarine Panzanella
Originally 16th century panzanella was made with onions and toast instead of tomatoes and toast. Modern day Italians added tomatoes, because why not?⠀
When it's sizzling hot outside, salad is on my table. If you're entertaining out on your patio or backyard, try this twist on a traditional recipe for panzanella, the totally genius Italian way of enjoying carbs by making bread into salad.
Nectarines, almost ripe and kissed by the grill, make the perfect mate for juicy tomatoes and bread. This Tuscan bread salad is the perfect way to use those summer tomatoes that are juicy with flavor. Traditional panzanella is made with stale bread, but don't worry. Grilled bread with a little olive oil and vinaigrette dressing, combined with sweet nectarine and tomato juices, makes a delicious bowlful.
This version also includes fragrant basil and mint leaves, delicate slivers of cucumbers and fennel-- it's an ideal make-ahead dish. The longer the salad sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. But you won't let it sit in the fridge very long, promise.
I found this recipe via Lily Diamond of Kale & Caramel, and changed it to make a vegan version (sans le fromage).
Grilled nectarines and fresh ciabatta bread paired with juicy nectarines, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, shaved fennel, and fresh mint and basil for the dreamiest summer salad.
GRILLED NECTARINE PANZANELLA SALAD
Serves 4, vegan
adapted from Lily Diamond of Kale & Caramel
olive oil, flaky sea salt, and pepper, for grilling
2 ciabatta rolls, halved
3 medium nectarines, halved or quartered, pits removed
1 cup shaved or very thinly sliced fennel root
1 cup diced cucumber, skin on
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
Heat your grill to high heat, and place a medium cast iron skillet on one half of the grill. Give the skillet a light drizzle of olive oil.
Brush all surfaces of the cut nectarines with olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper. Brush all surfaces of the ciabatta rolls with olive oil.
Once the grill and skillet are ready, carefully place the nectarines into the skillet, cut side down. Check the nectarines every two minutes (pay attention so they do not burn) until the juices begin to caramelize and the cut side begins to turn a golden brown. Once the cut side is properly caramelized, remove the skillet from the grill and set aside to cool.
Place the ciabatta rolls directly on the grill grate.
Check the ciabatta rolls often and once they're toasty, remove and set aside to cool.
When the ciabatta rolls and nectarines are both cool enough to the touch, cut the ciabatta into 1-inch cubes. Slice the nectarines into 1/2-inch slices.
In a large bowl, gently mix the grilled ciabatta bread and nectarines, fennel, cucumber, and tomatoes. Allow the flavors to marry as you make the dressing.
In a small jar or glass, whisk together the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt. Put on a lid and shake or whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the salad mix and gently toss to coat all ingredients.
Empty the salad out onto a platter or wide bowl. You can let it sit for awhile to allow the the flavors to mingle, but also fine to serve immediately.
Just before serving, chop the basil and mint and sprinkle over the salad.
Enjoy alfresco on your patio or backyard all summer long.