Thursday, July 29, 2010

Greek Panzanella Salad

Tonight we we had taco salads, and Mr. Vittles' always ends up being a serious creation.  So I make my tiny salad first, and then he piles whatever is left into a giant mixing bowl for himself.

This can take a while, so usually I walk away while the V Man crafts his masterpiece.  But this evening I forgot the salsa so I went back in time to see him brushing tortilla crumbs off his hands over the counter.

I gave him a sideways look, and he replied "What? I was gonna do it over the floor, but then I figured I better not..."

[wait for it] 

...since you're standing right here."

Sweet.  No wonder I feel like I could vacuum every single day in this house and it still wouldn't be enough.

But, I can't complain because he did fix a giant dent in the rear bumper of my car this evening (from an unknown source - The Perp is still at large!)  So I guess I'll keep him :)

Anyway, I also made this recipe tonight, because I've been dying to try it ever since I saw a picture of it on Alisa Burke's blog.  The recipe is originally from Food Network's Ina Garten, and every single review I read gave it 5 stars.

Yeah yeah, I know it has absolutely nothing to do with tacos.  But I was cutting up tomatoes and onions for pico de gallo & decided I may as well kill two birds with one stone.

So I kept on chopping away, toasted up some bread, and whipped up a vinaigrette - doesn't it all sound so easy?

After dinner, I noticed Mr. V still had a few rogue olive bits in his bowl so I asked if he liked the Panzanella.

"Yeah, it was good," he replied.  "I could have done without the olives though.  I don't mind olives.  But I don't really like them."

Hmm.  Do you not like them, or not mind them?

I'm gonna go with 'don't like them.'

FYI - this is an uncharacteristically female response on his part.  We women are always worried about hurting people's feelings, but usually men aren't so careful.  Maybe he was feeling badly about the crumbs.



Ok, so maybe he was feeling badly about the other night when he decided to draw on my foot with permanent marker because... I refused to drop what I was doing and scratch his back.

This is what happens when two very stubborn people fall in love and get married. 

At least it's kinda cute.

In any case ... I did not follow Ina's recipe as closely as I would have liked, since I was working with whatever I had in the house.  I only had some green peppers from the garden, feta crumbles (not block), a regular cucumber, and white onions rather than red.  So I will post the original recipe's ingredients, since they are probably better than mine.  The only change I made to the directions was toasting the bread in the oven rather than pan-frying it. 

Greek Panzanella Salad
  • 2-3 T. good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Place bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil.  Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake 7-9 minutes, until nicely toasted. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables.

Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

*For those of you unfamiliar with hothouse cucumbers, they are the really long ones you may have seen at the grocery store that come usually individually wrapped.  They have less seeds and if wrapped, the peel is not waxed.

Recipe Barely Adapted from Food Network, by Ina Garten


  1. Thanks for sharing the recipe of Greek Panzanella Salad . Will give it a try and see if it tastes well.

  2. Id like to try this recipe. So delicious to look at.

  3. How many does this feed as a main dish?


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