panzanella – bread salad with asparagus and salami

by 1 big bite on May 8, 2011

I am making this kind of salad a lot recently, one reason is it is a smart way to reuse not so fresh or even stale bread, the other reason it is just a great salad.
I like it as a side dish for grilled meat and if you already heated up your grill you can put the asparagus on it and skip the cooking in the pan. Cherry tomatoes are great but other work well too, just make sure they are ripe and tasty. Although tomatoes are not in season right now you might get some nice even semi-ripened and allow them to finish ripening on the counter, don’t store them in your refrigerator.
While on vacation a few days ago, we put something similar together like this panzanella but used Italian bread with garlic and herbs which had been very flavorful. You can read more about this vacation in my fish filet with capers, black olives and tomatoes post or about St. Petersburg, Florida (not Russia)

I often put a poached or hard boiled egg on it to add some protein to my dinner and maintain a complete meal. For no reason I never tried to substitute the salami with bacon or pancetta. Give them a try and tell me if you liked it.

Don’t stick too much with this recipe a little more or less of one ingredients won’t hurt. The more traditional recipe would go with arugula and red onions.

panzanella – bread salad with asparagus and salami

serves 4

400 g ripe tomatoes
250 g asparagus
100 g about 5 slices salami (Genoa)
250 g bread like ciabatta, baguette or country bread
2 garlic clove
2 tablespoon olive oil for the pan
a bunch of scallions or chives

for the vinaigrette:
4 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Cut the bread in bite size chunks (about 2-3 cm / 1 inch). Peel the tough ends of the asparagus and cut off the bottom. Slice the salami in strips. Peel and dice the garlic and cut the scallions.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide pan. Add the salami and cook until very crisp. Remove the salami chips from the pan and set aside on a paper towel. Add the asparagus to the same pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes then remove from the pan. Add the second tablespoon oil, preheat the oil to medium heat and add the bread. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 6 minutes. Add the garlic to the bread and cook for further 3 minutes. The garlic should not burn, lower the head if necessary.

In a large bowl mix the tomatoes, asparagus, salami, bread with garlic and scallions.
Make the vinaigrette and toss into the salad just before serving because the bread can get mushy after a while.

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