It’s been so hot out lately and with my husband away dinner needed to be simple and quick. Originally I thought I would make a pasta primavera using the fresh veggies I bought from Lieb’s organic patch but I eyed the leftover focaccia bread on the counter and changed my mind. I would make a bread (panzanella) salad out of it. Ok, so it’s not the proper Tuscan bread with the crusty top which is soaked and then gently squeezed but I’m not fussed…frugality comes in all shapes and sizes/ingredients! A visit to Lieb’s for fresh tomatoes and onions was in order. I received their newsletter saying their heirloom tomatoes were in – this time I was taking my camera.
I used the green zebra tomato as well as the Japanese black trifele in the salad. I wasn’t sure just what an heirloom tomato was until Mike (pictured below) explained that they’re not genetically modified and not used in large scale agriculture…a true heirloom is a cultivar that has been nurtured, selected, and handed down from one family member to another for many generations.
Mike showed me around and I was pleasantly surprised to see okra.
Different types of eggplant (also known as aubergine, berenjen, brinjal, garden egg, egg apple, melongene, melanzane, Guinea squash) are grown at the organic farm.
After spending half an hour there, I was ready to come home and get the panzanella salad ready.
|simple, farm-fresh ingredients = huge flavor|
For the salad:
leftover or stale bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
fresh basil leaves, torn
extra virgin olive oil
cucumber, roughly chopped
red wine vinegar or lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Kalamata olives, chopped
Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved (use a potato peeler)
Place bread pieces in a bowl and add some olive oil – enough to coat the bread so that it becomes moist. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese and toss. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, toss, and season to taste. Top with thinly shaved Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I wish we all could have a place like Lieb’s around the corner. Their rocket (arugula) has an amazing sharp peppery flavor, more so than any other I’ve tried before – such a refreshing change and makes a salad zing! Everything that went into the salad was local…even the garlic which I purchased at the 175th Street Greenmarket in Manhattan on Sunday. Local food supports local families, builds community (the connection between eater and grower), local food preserves open space (farmers are less likely to sell their farmland for development), and local food keeps taxes down (farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services).