Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Great Summer Salad

I've been celebrating my release from my temp job at the cube-farm by recreating some of the great salads at our local Whole Foods - wannabee.  Their salads are quite tasty, but I always think I can make a healthier (and less pricey) version.  So far I've made the farro salad and the Greek pasta salad - both definite keepers!

I saw this recipe on Ezra Pound Cake.   I love panzanella and the idea of making something similar with corn bread was too tempting.   The EPC version is from Jamie and Boby Deen's book, "The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up".  

Here is the recipe and some changes I made - minor for sure - hard to improve on the Brother's great recipe.

Start with 1/2 to 1 corn bread - I used  a basic corn bread recipe and added the kernels from a leftover grilled ear of corn.  Cut corn bread into 1 inch cubes.

Next, prepare the vegetables:
2 cans black beans, drained
1-2 red peppers, diced.   I used several baby multi-colored peppers.
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts.  I used fresh garlic and baby leeks from our farmer's market.
1/4 cup chopped basil.  I'd like to try this with cilantro, but my son has the cilantro tastes like soap gene, so I stuck with  basil.

Here are the vegetables ( minus the beans) getting acquainted with the dressing.  To make the dressing, whisk together:
6 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp red wine vinegar
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp freshly ground pepper

Drizzle over vegetables and stir to coat well.   I let the vegetables sit for a couple of hours to mingle the flavors.

Spread the cubed corn bread onto a cookie sheet and broil until golden.  I sprayed the corn bread cubes with a bit of olive oil for additional crunch.  Watch very carefully - I'm here to tell you they go from golden to blackened very quickly!

The recipe says to gently stir the corn bread cubes into the vegetables and toss to coat.   Since cornbread is pretty fragile, I used the the cornbread cubes as a bed for the salad - arrange some of the cornbread on the plate and top with the vegetable mixture. This keeps the cornbread relatively intact, plus eliminates  soggy cornbread should there be any leftovers.  The Deen brothers do recommend adding the toasted cubes to the salad at the very last minute to preserve their toasted crunch.

This was yummy and makes a great summer meatless dinner - enjoy!

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