Monday, August 19, 2013

Greek Panzanella Salad

Panzanella has been a staple in our house this entire summer. I can not get enough of the bread soaked in dressing with the fresh summer produce. Is there anything better? There are so many ways to mix and match a panzanella...the possibilities are endless!

One of my all time favorite Panzanella salads is from Simply Scratch. She grills the veggies and the bread and it is to die for. It's what turned me on to Panzanella in the first place at the beginning of the summer and now I love this Greek version just as much!

I still can not get over the concept of crusty bread as the main star in a salad. Whoever created this, I want to kiss them and thank them. As a carb-aholic, I fully appreciate this concept.

The real reason I was itching to whip up this salad is because I had received a package from Star Fine Foods with their new line of Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oils. There are three types: Arbequina for Vegetables, Hojiblanca for Fish/Poultry and Picual for Beef/Lamb....and I was dying to try it out.

A few months ago I had purchased 2 liters of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Costco trying to save a some money living out in the middle of no where here on the hi-line of Montana. I was so excited about how much money I was saving, but what I didn't realize was that what I was saving in money, I was losing with quality. I made a salad dressing using it once and I was so disappointed how bitter it tasted. No thank you!

Thanks to Star Fine Foods, I don't have to use it any more! I seriously love how these new Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oils by Star Fine Foods enhance the food you are making. The Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables blended so smoothly with my vegetables in the dressing for this salad, it was absolutely wonderful! I love, love, LOVE this olive oil and have already used more than half of it up in the past month. I love it so much, I just had to tell ya!

If you have never tried a Panzanella salad simply must! Go to your store and grab crusty bread, some veggies and whip this simple salad up immediately. You won't be disappointed!

Greek Panzanella Salad
{Serves 4}

-2 small loaves of Ciabatta (regular or herb flavored), cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 small Cucumber, seeded and diced
-1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
-1 cup halved Grape Tomatoes
-1/2 cup thinly sliced Red Onions
-1/3 cup Black Olives
-4 ounces crumbled Feta Cheese
-1/2 tsp minced Garlic
-1/2 tsp dried Oregano
-1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
-2 tbsp Garlic Wine Vinegar
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Pepper
-1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Star Fine Foods Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables

Heat 1 tbsp of EVOO in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and toast the bread in the pan for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl.

To the large bowl, add the diced cucumber, red bell pepper, halved grape tomatoes, sliced red onions and olives.

For the dressing: In a mason jar with a lid, add the garlic, dried oregano, Dijon mustard, Garlic Wine Vinegar, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup EVOO. Place the lid on the jar and shake until emulsified and combined.

Pour the desired amount of dressing over the bread and vegetables in the large bowl. Sprinkle over the feta cheese and then gently mix to combine. Set aside for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to enhance and enjoy!

Recipe Inspired & Adapted By: Ina Garten
Star Fine Foods provided me with the Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oils. All opinions and thoughts in the blog post regarding the oils are my own.

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