Sunday, 25 May 2014

Warm Panzanella Salad

This recipe comes to us this week from Dr. Darcy Dietz, the main sponsor of our Sprouts Kids' Club. A local orthodontist, he has a passion for local food and for the culinary arts. On the weekend he sent me photos of a dinner that he made that looked mouth-wateringly delicious! He serves this salad warm, with a halibut steak (and because of this recipe, it's time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag... in June, we will have a wonderful, ocean-wise fish seller at our market that runs a very popular CFA, called Skipper Otto's).  The beauty of this dinner is that the traditional starch is absent, and you won't miss it a bit!

Dr. Dietz is always experimenting with his food, with what it means to truly cook local, and he is constantly learning new techniques, experimenting with new combinations and growing his own food. In this weekend dinner, he caught the halibut and grew the sprouts that garnish this salad. 

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella salad is served warm. Made from mini-roma tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, red onion, shallots, kalamata olives and capers, it is seared and tossed with a red wine vinaigrette and then tossed with the rosemary bread croutons that have been fried in butter. 
Toast the croutons by pan frying them in
grape seed oil and butter.

Dr. Dietz says, "This is a great substitute for potatoes, rice, or pasta. The textural crunch of the ingredients is great beside the halibut or any main protein. I have vegetarian friends who would be happy to eat this as their only course."

Today he shares with us this recipe.

He writes, "I cheated. I’ve done this so many times that I had to look up quantities. Ina Garten’s recipe is spectacular and most true to what I do, but I pre-fry the bread in a bit of grape seed oil and butter. I also toss the other ingredients into heat as I like everything to be hot for this particular presentation. 

A Farmers' Market is the perfect place to pick up
fresh red onions and incredibly sweet grape tomatoes.
The farmer’s market is perfect for picking up the tomatoes, basil, peppers, bread (although the rosemary-olive bread at the Italian Centre is superb) and parsley. 

I added ½ cup of capers, and 1 cup of sliced in half Kalamata olives.  I used the small mini-Roma greenhouse tomatoes. 

On the left, pan-seared halibut. In the middle, croutons toasting
in grape seed oil and butter. On the right, the vegetable
ingredients sautéing.
And, if I can be so bold, the vinaigrette is great but substitute 30ml of FISH SAUCE instead of salt. That flavour punch is terrific Umami.  And you can sub red wine vinegar for the champagne vinegar which for some reason is hard to find in town exempt at Sunterra." Darcy learned a  lot about the culinary arts during his mini internship at Stella, a wonderful restaurant in Lake Tahoe. There, Chef Jacob's Filippino wife suggested the fish sauce substitution that is used in this recipe adaptation


For the salad:
3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
 or the equivalent volume of small grape tomatoes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick

Topped with fresh sprouts and a pan-fried
halibut steak, this goes brilliantly with a
chilled, crisp white wine.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced

20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup capers
1 c. sliced kalamata olives

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
 OR 30mL fish sauce***
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil (or oil & butter) in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

where can you find ingredients at our market?
  • Greenhouse cucumbers can be found at S4 Greenhouses and Holden Colony. 
  • A rainbow of mini tomato varieties can be found at S4 Greenhouses. 
  • Red onions can be found at Holden Colony, Riverbend Gardens and Dargatz Family Farm. 
  • Wonderful breads can be found at Prairie Mill Bakery and Celebrate, Gluten Free.
  • And fresh basil plants can be purchased at Dargatz Family Farm and Riverbend Garden and grown on your kitchen windowsill, garden plot or back deck/patio pot

Contributed by Dr. Darcy Dietz
Recipe adapted slightly from
***Darcy learned a  lot about the culinary arts fusing his mini internship at Stella, a wonderful restaurant in Lake Tahoe. There, Chef Jacob's Filippino wife suggested the fish sauce substitution that is used in this recipe adaptation

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