Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Greek Style Panzanella with Charred Peppers

In the kitchen | by Diana Galban


This morning I talked to two different people about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Everyone is clearly turning the page on summer and looking forward to Fall and its delicious weather. So to savour the last few days we have (although, my family will not be saying goodbye to Summer anytime soon as Miami is a permanently sunny wonderland), I whipped up an easy panzanella salad for Saturday's lunch.

As per our tradition, I met my boss at a little café in Miami Beach and we had carrot juices and sandwiches. Because I'm an unofficial vegetarian, I had a greek sandwich on wheat bread, which inspired this salad. 

You'll find tons of recipes and different combinations all over the internet to make this. Half the fun is that you can throw whatever mix of veggies you want in there and get creative with the dressing. The one pictured above has charred peppers and onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta (no olives). I love the mix of flavors: salty cheese, sweet charred onions, the fresh, light taste of the tomatoes and the cucumbers together. 

Here's how to make it:

*You should be warned that when I'm following my own recipes, I cannot measure for the life of me. I just go by feeling.

1. Cut mixed sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow) in half and remove the seeds and the top. Throw them in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in medium-high heat.

2. Cut 2 red onions in half and slice each half into wedges. Set aside.

3. Score a cucumber with a fork along the length. Slice. Cut up your tomatoes into wedges and set aside with the cucumber slices. Don't put them on your eyes, that's for later. But do throw them in your water. 

4. If the peppers have a good char going, give them a stir and add the onion. Add sea salt and black pepper, give them a stir and let them continue to char on the outside. I like them to still have a crunch to them so I don't go on full caramelize-mode. 

5. Cut up pieces of baguette with your hands and drizzle olive oil on them. Set aside.

6. Remove the peppers and the onions from the heat into a bowl and drizzle balsamic vinegar on them. Add the tomatoes and the cucumbers once they have cooled down a bit. 

7. I tossed the bread on the pan where I charred the peppers because I also wanted them to get a bit of color (also, I cheated and the bread was fresh) and crunch. Mix together with the rest of the vegetables in the bowl. Add olive oil and pepper as desired (I can put pepper on anything). Finish with feta crumbs and toss*.

*Make everyone wait because you have to take photos for your blog. This part is optional. 

ICYMI: Last week, we made spring veggies in a lemon tarragon sauce.