It is unbearably hot and humid here in NYC. So hot that the thought of turning on the stove makes me lethargic. This salad requires no more than 5 minutes of heat, and those 5 minutes are well worth it. Tomato panzanella is a quintessential summer dish, and I am happy it has found a home on the crunchy radish summer salad series. Instead of white french bread to soak up the juices and dressing, I use a hearty sprouted whole grain loaf, but a gluten-free option would work well too. Cucumbers add the perfect amount of crunch and pair perfectly with vibrant and flavorful cherry tomatoes for this simple and savory summertime dish.
For added depth and dimension, I add a raw cow's milk blue cheese from the local greenmarket-feta would work well here too. For a vegan version, feel free to go cheese-less or sub with cashew cheese. A peppy garlic Dijon vinaigrette brings together this spin on a classic summery salad.
cherry tomato and cucumber panzanella
- 3 slices whole grain or gluten-free bread
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half. I used yellow, but any color combination would do.
- 3 small kirby cucumbers or 1 large, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 6 oz blue cheese, feta, or cashew cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup purple or green basil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + additional for brushing the bread
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsps white balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic minced + 2 additional cloves for rubbing the bread
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush bread with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes a side or until grill marks appear and bread is crisp and slightly browned. Rub garlic cloves over both sides of the bread and let cool. Tear into pieces or chop into chunks and place into a serving bowl.
- Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, torn basil, and blue cheese to the bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad. Toss, taste, adjust if needed, and enjoy. (Allow the salad to sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the bread to absorb the dressing.)
Side note - this would probably make an amazing gazpacho. Throw all the ingredients together in a blender, pulse, refrigerate, and enjoy.