Grilled Panzanella Salad with Sweet Peppers and Summer Squash

Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad, traditionally made of stale bread and tomatoes. Leave it to the Italians to make a salad out of bread! No complaints here, though. And here’s the kicker: the longer it sits, the more the flavors meld together and make for a show-stopping first course!

INGREDIENTS

SALAD

1 1/2 pounds assorted bell peppers (about 3 large), cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 1/2 pounds assorted summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 medium-size red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 12- to 14-ounce loaf of ciabatta, some crust trimmed to expose bread, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Can’t find ciabatta? Any crusty Italian or French loaf will do.
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled, cut into thirds

DRESSING

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cored, cut into 3/4-inch dice, juices reserved -OR- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, juices reserved
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as chives, dill, chervil, or tarragon)
2 tablespoons drained capers

 

PREPARATION

For salad:
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush both sides of bell peppers, squash, onion, and bread slices lightly with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender and brown, about 4 minutes per side for peppers and squash and 3 minutes per side for onion. Grill bread until browned and crisp, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Cool slightly. Rub bread with cut sides of garlic. Tear bread into 3/4-inch pieces; place in very large bowl. Cut grilled vegetables into 1-inch pieces; add to bread in bowl.
For dressing:
Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Theme — Timber