Greek-Style Panzanella with Feta Snow
by Susie Heller
1 hour total time
30 minutes active time
Panzanella salad ingredients can be varied seasonally, but when summer tomatoes are at their peak, this is the version I make. A Greek salad is elevated by adding croutons which have absorbed the flavorful juices of the tomatoes. The feta snow gives a new look to a classic salad.
1 loaf artisan bread, crusts removed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds assorted tomatoes\
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, diced
½ small red onion, cut into julienne
Large handful Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced
¼ cup capers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
2 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
4 ounce block of feta cheese, frozen
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Tear the bread into irregular bite-size pieces, toss with a bit of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, turning the bread halfway through cooking, until the bread is crisp and a rich golden brown.
Meanwhile, put a large strainer over a bowl. Cut any large tomatoes in half through the equator and gently squeeze the seeds and juice into the strainer. Using a silicone spatula press on the seeds to extract all the juices and discard the seeds. Cut small tomatoes in half or smaller pieces as appropriate. Put the tomatoes in the strainer and toss with the 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Put the tomatoes into a second large mixing bowl, reserving the juice. To the tomatoes, add the cucumber, red onion, olives and capers.
For the dressing: Whisk the vinegar and remaining olive oil into the tomato juice. Use a rasp grater to grate the garlic into the dressing. Taste, adjust the proportions of vinegar and oil as needed and season with salt and pepper.
About 30 minutes before serving. Toss the vegetables with the bread, dressing and herbs.
Spoon on serving plates and grate frozen feta cheese over the top.