Jim Denevan of Outstanding in the Field prepares this salad to showcase specialty varieties of vegetables. In spring, halved cherry tomatoes are your best bet. In summer, heirloom variety beefsteak tomatoes work well.
8 ounces ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 orange bell peppers (about 1 pound)
2 cups sliced radicchio (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons capers
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
Place bread on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally.
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel; cut into 1-inch pieces.
Combine bread, bell peppers, and next 4 ingredients (through cucumber) in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk. Pour over bread mixture; toss.
Let stand 20 minutes or just until bread begins to soften. Sprinkle with basil.
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This is really excellent! I made about 1/3 the salad and 1/2 the dressing as a one-dish dinner for me and my husband. I did use bottled roasted peppers and chunks of big fat Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes. Also added some crisp humanely-raised bacon and fresh mozzarella to make it more of a main dish. Just delicious and satisfying on a hot summer night. The capers and anchovies are essential!
First I have to say that the dressing for this salad is fantastic. The anchovies added such a huge depth of salty flavor that I added no additional salt....just some pepper. With that said, I changed up the salad recipe a bit which created more of a salad with croutons than a Panzanella, but that's what I was looking for to accompany my Italian dinner. I used a combination of radicchio and Romaine, and more like 4 cups to serve 4 people, and I added kalamata olives in place of capers. The addition of the chopped basil at the end put it over the top. Everyone raved! Looking forward to serving this again.
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