Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone! While it is all about the long weekend, the unofficial start of summer, and grilling, let’s not forget the real reason for the holiday. This weekend we remember and honor our fallen service men and women. So, go out and thank a veteran for their service to the good old USA today!
It seems like every Memorial Day weekend for the past few years has been rainy and cold. Not this year. 94 degrees, sunny, no rain in the forecast. Dare I say it – it’s too hot. We had tons of outdoor plans this weekend but now we have decided to stay in the air-conditioned sanctuary of our humble home. We’ll watch some TV, maybe some movies, and get better acquainted with our new puppy, Whiskey. Yep, we’ve added another cold wet nose to our menagerie. She’s adorable and she’s all puppy. I’ve forgotten just how much time and attention they need.
Because of the heat outside and the attention required in minding to a new puppy we’re going to go easy in the kitchen. After all, who wants to heat up the house on a day like this? So, all cooking is on the grill today. We purchased two beautiful fillets from our favorite butcher Pete, of Lange’s Old Fashion Meat Market in Michigan City, and I’m going to make my favorite salad, Panzanella.
Panzanella is one of those dishes that Italian mamas and nonnas (grandmas) created when they didn’t want to waste day old bread. My grandmother Philomena always had tomatoes and peppers growing in the garden each summer, so along with some day old bread and she was over half way there with this yummy dish! Best part is, it reminds me of summers spent visiting my family in Northeast Pennsylvania. So, let’s get started on this simple, yet oh so flavorful salad!
- 3/4 of a loaf (12 oz) good quality Italian or French bread, cut in slices and brushed on both sides with olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in half
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in half
- 1 red onion cut in slices
- 3/4 of a pound Campari tomatoes cut in quarters
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and cut in bite sized pieces
- 3 TBSP capers, drained
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat your grill and place your pepper halves and onion slices on the grate. You may want to use a vegetable basket. Grill until blackened in areas. Set aside to cool. Take your bread slices and place on grill. When toasted, flip to brown other side of bread. Set aside to cool.
Cut your tomatoes in quarters in a bowl and add your peppers and onions to the bowl. Add cucumber and capers. Cut your toasted bread into bite size pieces and toss into your vegetables.
Mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Dress salad and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.