Thursday, June 16, 2011

Panzanella Caprese

I don't believe it's any secret that I love to cook.

My specialties: Breads, pies and oh -- anything using ground venison. (When you marry a hunter, you learn to make yummy eats with a variety of dead carcasses. I'm just sayin'.)

But lately, I'm having dreams of creating something new. Something different. Something fresh. And something beautiful.

I'm what you would call uninitiated in the ways of traditional gourmet cooking, but I have decided to stop waiting on the sidelines and get in the game.

Just for fun.

We country gals can flex our culinary muscles every now and again. Right?

I can't hear you.


Right on. I heard you that time.

For my maiden voyage into the world of gourmet chefery - I prepared an Italian salad dish, Panzanella Caprese, based on this recipe I found on

Panzanella Caprese

Serves 6 to 8

1 (18-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped

1 1/2 lb tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup chopped basil

•Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

•Toss bread with 2 Tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread out in 1 layer. Bake, stirring once, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

•Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in vinegar, capers, and remaining 1/3 cup oil.

•Add croutons to dressing along with tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, and basil, then toss. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Melissa Roberts


I wanted to do this one by the book, so I bought all of the necessary ingredients to prepare this dish. The total grocery bill: $20.00. The fresh basil and capers were the most expensive items. I didn't even know what a caper was until I bought a jar. I honestly thought they would be in the sardine section.

For reals.

What a nube.

But, being the thrifty sort that I am, I figured if I made the baguette and used my own homegrown garlic, tomatoes, onion and basil -- I would save $7.00. When my garden is ready, I will definitely make Panzanella Caprese again, using homemade bread and vegetables harvested from the Claeys' garden.

Nancy come see me here

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