Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Panzanella Salad With A Twist

2014-10-26 17.58.40

Having my daughter visit recently, I needed to make a “meat free” meal for her. Now, in our house, Steve loves “meat free” meals once and a while, however; for the main course, he prefers to have some type of protein. I’m thinking what better way to do this than with a Panzanella Salad that makes everyone happy. This traditional Italian salad is basically a tomato and bread salad. Today I’m going to put a spin on tradition.


In a large bowl,  take one English, seedless cucumber, seeded with a spoon, and cut into half moons. Take the half moons and cut them in half. Slice 1/2 a red onion into thinly sliced half moons. Next, dice up 1 yellow bell pepper into large dice. A pint each of the yellow and red grape tomatoes halved, and toss them into the bowl as well. Add all these ingredients to the bowl. Take a quarter cup of pitted Kalamata olives and chop them up and add them in with the other ingredients.

In a separate bowl, I diced up 3/4 of a pound of Genoa salami that I bought from the deli. I had them slice it in one large piece, making it easier to dice.  Steve has the option then to add this right to his salad and not interfering with the integrity of the traditional Panzanella salad.

Next, is the dressing, and the bread that makes this salad so wonderful. I cubed up a loaf of Ciabatta bread crusts and all, and spread the cubes over two baking sheets. Drizzled them with olive oil, and a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper. In a preheated 400 degree oven bake for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. I like to shake the pans half way through the baking process, so that the bread gets tossed around a bit, and I can get a better feel for when the bread’s texture is just right.

Note: This recipe works even better if you have a loaf of day old bread. This will allow the bread to absorb the dressing much better.

Once the croutons are done, immediately place them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. The hot croutons will absorb the dressing much better.

This vinaigrette can be made while the croutons are in the oven.  In another bowl add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 clove of grated garlic, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Agave nectar, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper.  Slowly drizzle in 1/2 a cup of E.V.O.O. Whisk this all together and just pour the dressing over the salad.

Toss all the ingredients together so the bread cubes gets coated in that delicious dressing. Finally, dice up 6 ounces of good Feta cheese. The reason I add this in last is so the cheese will keep its integrity.  Finish by adding in 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves. You can toss in some of that delicious Genoa salami to your salad for that little something extra.


2014-10-26 17.58.40Prep Time:: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Equipment: 2 baking sheets

1 English cucumber, cut into half moons then cut half moon in half
1/2 red onion sliced into thinly sliced half moons
1 large diced yellow bell pepper
1 pint each of red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 pound of diced Genoa salami (optional)
6 ounces of diced Feta cheese
1 loaf of cubed Ciabatta bread baked off into croutons
1/4 cup of olive oil (for croutons)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt (for croutons)
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper ( for croutons)
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 clove of freshly grated garlic
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of E.V.O.O


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Crostini Topped With Whipped Goat Cheese And A Grape Tomato Salad


We know them as crostini, an appetizer consisting of a small slice of toasted or grilled bread and toppings. Usually veggies, meats, or cheeses. To tell you the truth, I could eat these every night and never get tired of it. My Crostini With Whipped Goat Cheese And Grape Tomato Salad.




I specifically asked the deli of my local grocery store to slice for me 2-1/2-inch thick slices of Genoa salami so I could dice it up for my salad.


I cubed each one into 1-inch chunks.




I’m using a Tuscan Garlic Ciabatta for this recipe.



Crostini Topped With A Grape Tomato Salad


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

1 loaf of Tuscan Garlic Ciabatta, sliced (yields 16 slices) substitute plain Ciabatta or a baguette
2-1/2-inch thick slices Genoa salami, 1-inch dice
2 pints grape tomatoes, yellow and red, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt|
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned

Ingredients For Whipped Goat Cheese:
8-ounces goat cheese, room temperature
4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Tuscan Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

In a large bowl,  add halved grape tomatoes, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, chopped tarragon, julienned basil leaves, and diced salami. Toss all the ingredients together, set aside

Directions For Whipped Goat Cheese:
In a food processor, add room temperature goat cheese, room temperature cream cheese. Pulse that for a minute. Next, add fresh lemon juice, Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and E.V.O.O. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil



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