If you could put summer in a salad, what would you include?
I’m sure there are many good answers to this question, but this is my version. I pulled together some of my favorite ingredients from some of my favorite places to make a salad that screamed August. There were the cherry tomatoes and sweet corn from last week’s CSA from Kings Hill Farm. There was the the baguette from Stella’s, famous for their hot spicy cheese bread, but with so many other good products that don’t get the fame they deserve.
There was the Capri goat cheese that is so smooth, it’s unbelievable, I could eat it straight from the container. There was the mint that has taken over our herb garden. And then there were the figs—those were from California via Trader Joe’s—because not all good things can come from a 20 mile radius of where you live.
Panzanella is a classic Italian salad—usually made with day old crusty bread, tomatoes, and a nice vinaigrette. I take it one step further with the sweet figs and crunchy corn for a nice textured salad.
There is a sweet spot with panzanella—you want the juice from the tomatoes and the vinaigrette to soak into the bread a bit giving it a nice flavor, but not so much that the bread becomes soft and soggy. Usually, that’s thirty minutes after throwing it all together, but the salad stays crunchy and delicious for a couple hours.
I’ve been totally loving all the summer haul we’ve been receiving—I cannot get enough tomatoes or corn—but this week’s cool and breezy 70 degree days has definitely got me excited for fall days to come. Let’s just keep the tomatoes. (And keep shipping these figs to use poor souls in Wisconsin).
- 2½ cups of a nice french baguette, cut into 2 inch cubes
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 large or 2 medium cobs of corn, shucked
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 8 ounces figs, cut in half lengthwise, then each half cut sliced into 3-4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 8 mint leaves, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Place bread cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with Kosher salt. Bake for 7-12 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add cobs and cook until corn is done, about 10 minutes. Set aside to let cool, then cut corn off the cob and measure out about 1 cup.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled corn, cherry tomatoes, figs, and bread.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Pour over vegetables and bread and toss to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes to soak in, then toss in goat cheese, mint, and top with freshly ground black pepper.