As summer begins to wind down, and it’s just that teeny little bit cooler, I feel my body asking for warmer things. Not your fresh lemony bright food, something with more of a consistency, and warmth. It’s funny, before I moved to Spain, there were two things that I would have never eaten. Cold Soup and Warm Salad. They were just weird to me. But, as I see that living in Barcelona is coexisting with your environment perfectly, a.k.a. no air-conditioning, you find more creative ways to cool yourself off. Hence the cold soup. Now, with the wind just a bit chillier, and not yet time to put on the heating, the warm salad.
Panzanella is such a simple salad, it literally is the epitome of ease. The large crusty bread chunks soak up the vinaigrette. I wanted to add some chickpeas because 1) I LOVE EM! 2) well, they elevate this salad from side dish to main dish in my book and 3) they’re healthy! And what is better than having a few friends over and all you have to do is fry up some bread, and toss some dressing on to the greens? Nothing, in my book. It just gives you more time to spend with them.
Apart from adding some torn basil into the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas, I also fried the bread with some basil leaves and cracked pepper.
So here’s what you’re going to need:
1 baguette, cut into cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large bunch basil, 3/4 of the leaves torn, the rest left intact
200 g cooked chickpeas
1/2 cucumber, diced
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, cut
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and warm up. When hot, add the bread cubes, some cracked pepper and the intact basil leaves. Fry the bread until crispy on all sides. Keep warm.
In a large bowl, add the rest of your ingredients up to the romaine lettuce. Drizzle with the olive oil, and the lemon juice (however much you like) and garlic salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Add the fried bread and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
From my kitchen to yours,