Vegetarian Panzanella Salad
There is a time between fall and summer that took me a long time to appreciate. As a kid, and even in college, the start of school meant the start of fall. Fall in texas of course was different, but it wasn't a celebration of summer, those all happened before the start of school, and for the south that's early august.
Now that I am back in Rhode Island, September and early October is one of the most glorious times of the year, it's that pre-fall or early fall in New England where the air is dry, the produce is still quite awesome and the air is full of dreams and hopes for the future. Even if everyone around us is "back at it" and planning for school, I have to remind myself to slow down and still enjoy what is left of the warm weather. This year, while I have been working all Labor Day weekend, I stopped and ate a few meals outside. Actually, this was one of them. I finished this photoshoot and noticed no one was on the patio (a rarity in my apt building), so I immediately grabbed my plate and beer and headed outside.
I love eating outside because I can leave all technology behind me and just focus on that moment. An important concept for someone who has approx. four jobs.
A cross between a blt, a cobb and a panzanella, this salad is the perfect end of summer treat. What I love about this is that it takes just a few minutes and uses lots of fresh ingredients. Before september gets closer to a close and tomatoes start to become these greenhouse red blobs not worth eating, try your hand a salad that is hearty enough to be dinner and indulgent enough for that last summer-like meal.
End of Summer Panzanella Salad
makes enough for 2 light dinners
- Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing (see link below)
- Vegetarian Coconut Bacon (see link below)
- 1/2 loaf Your favorite Bread (mine is olive loaf)
- 2tbs butter
- 1 tbs chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 ear of corn
- 2-3 fresh beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
- half of a shallot - sliced VERY thinly
Take the fresh ear of corn and place in microwave WITHOUT shucking. Microwave on HIGH for 1-2 minutes and then let sit to steam in the husk for another 1-2. This is why I do this first, I start it and let it sit till I am ready. When corn is ready remove husk and with a sharp knife scale down the sides to remove the kernels from the core, set aside kernels.
Slice the bread into 1 inch slices and then tear into bite size pieces. Melt butter in pan on stove and add salt and mix around and then add bread. Toss to coat the bread and let toast evenly on each side. Before the last few minutes when you think you have one more side of the bread to toast, toss in the chopped cilantro and mix well. Remove from pan onto paper towel to make sure they are dry and to collect any extra butter.
Slice tomatoes and place on each plate, stacking around and distribute evenly. Evenly spread the croutons over the top of the tomatoes, and then corn over top. Add your very thin slices of shallot and then sprinkle with bacon. PLEASE feel free to use normal bacon if your diet allows. I personally chose not to eat meat, so this recipe is crunchy yummy and gives that wonderful crunch that I miss sans real bacon in my life.
I like to serve the salad without the dressing and let people spoon it over the top themselves. I like my salad DOUSED in this dressing, others like just a bit.