Sunday, September 6, 2009

Grilled Panzanella and Peaches

Whenever I come across a recipe for Panzanella, I don’t linger too long. For some reason, it has never appealed to me! All of that bread, in a salad? I guess because I have never been a crouton person, it just never occurred to me to pay any attention to it. It just doesn’t sound good to me. Well, I was wrong. It is good. It is very good. I couldn’t stop eating the croutons out of the bowl of leftovers!

The recipe for grilled peaches is below as well. We served ½ peach per person (with ice cream), but you could just as easily serve a whole peach per person. They were that good.

I hope that you have a wonderful Labor Day. Enjoy your day off of work, knowing that we are very blessed to have the freedoms that we have in this country, including the freedom to work. We are able to pursue education and to choose our careers and professions. What a great blessing.

Oh, and enjoy the remaining vestiges of summer. It really is supposed to last until September 22, but it’s not looking too promising around here.

Grilled Panzanella

From Ina Garten

Good olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes

10 large basil leaves

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces

1/2 baguette, cut into 1-inch thick slices

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.*

When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.

Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden.** Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.

*To minimize the number of bowls needed for our al fresco meal, I poured the dressing over the cold veggies before bringing them outside.

**I cut the bread into crouton-sized cubes before tossing them into the salad.

Grilled Peaches

Vegetable oil, for brusing (we used olive oil because we already had a bowl of it available)

2 peaches, halved and pitted

3-4 tablespoons brown sugar

Good ice cream

Brush the cut side of the peaches with oil. Place cut side down on the grill over medium-low heat and replace the lid on the grill. Allow the peaches to cook for about 4 minutes. Brush the other sides of the peaches with oil and flip the peaches over. Sprinkle the brown sugar on the cut side of the peaches. Replace the grill lid and cook for 8-10 minutes. Serve with ice cream.*

*I recommend dulce de leche or a good vanilla ice cream. A homemade lavender ice cream sounds divine, and we enjoyed it with butter pecan ice cream that our guests brought.

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