I’m the last person to come to this conclusion, but panzanella salad is the SHIT! I literally only gave one a try last year and I’m basically obsessed now. Before, the idea of bread in a salad just made me think “ew, soggy bread.” But turns out slightly toasted cubes of bread tossed with salad is basically the greatest idea ever.
While the classic panzanella salad revolves around tomatoes, but it’s going to be a while before my tomato plants start producing and I’m impatient. So I made a spring version that seriously hit the spot. I mean, technically it’s a bastardized version of a panzanella salad but it was still delicious and that’s all that really matters.
I’m kinda shit at following recipes, but here’s a loose outline of what I used.
Spring Panzanella Salad
1 bag spring lettuce mix
1 lb (ish) asparagus
½ fennel bulb
⅓ lb strawberries
2 cups sourdough bread cubes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
White Balsamic Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fire up the grill, because grilling makes everything better. Trim the asparagus and toss with olive oil. Set aside until grill is hot.
Empty the bag of lettuce into a large bowl. Trim the fennel bulb and cut in half. Thinly slice one half (I used my mandolin) and add to the bowl. Trim and slice up about ⅓ of one of those one-pound containers of strawberries and add to the bowl.
Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Once hot, add the cubed sourdough bread to the pan and toss to coat. Heat until mostly evenly toasted, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool before adding to the bowl.
Cook the asparagus on the grill, rolling as best you can to cook evenly. It’ll be quick, only about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, cut into 1-2 inch pieces, and add to the bowl.
Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend on medium for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle about half on the salad bowl and toss to combine. Add more as needed.
Recipe makes 2-3 servings. This salad was particularly good with grilled chicken but I bet it would be great with grilled salmon, too.