F*** you, Winter.
I may be presumptive: I mean, we did get snow this last week, and we could conceivably get another blizzard (or two!) yet, but really, Winter can eat a pail of diapers.
If you don’t live in MN (or other comparable latitudes), you can’t understand how galactically done we are with winter. There is no douchey ex, no former best friend who betrays you, which can evoke the rage-wrapped exhaustion we Twin Citizens feel every March.
So screw it. I’m done with stews and roasted veggies, and butter in everything (for a while, at least). I’m breaking out with the basil and the tomatoes and the lemon juice. Brink your umbrella, Winter, cuz I’m gonna drop Tyler Florence on your soggy, windy parade of depression like you dropped snow on my bike.
Behold, Tyler’s recipe for Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad), from Eat This Book – a book no kitchen should be without.
1 French boule, or loaf of round Tuscan bread, torn into bite sized chunks
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Garlic cloves
3 Anchovy fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of half a lemon, or as needed
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers, drained
2 Roasted red bell peppers, shredded by hand (optional)
Half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a red onion, finely chopped
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
Half a bunch of basil torn into largish pieces
Half a cup of celery leaves, torn into largish pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the bread chunks with a quarter cup of oil until the bread is wet with the oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake until the bread begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
While the bread is going, make the dressing. Use a large knife to chop and mash the garlis, anchovies, and salt to a paste on a cutting board. Scrape it into a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and stir together. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and gently stir. Taste for seasoning. Finally, add the toasted bread and toss it all together. Taste it and season one last time with salt, pepper and lemon juice.