Before you get upset that this doesn't feature tomatoes, please know I LOVE tomatoes. My home has been filled with them all summer in a ton of different forms; cherry, heirloom, beefsteak, plum, etc.. And if you're wondering why I would even mention tomatoes, a traditional Panzanella is overflowing with summer-ripe tomatoes. This is not a traditional Panzanella.
My Bubbe (grandmother), had a thing for radishes. She used to eat them raw and sprinkled with a little salt and I carry on that snacking tradition. But it's hard to eat a whole bunch of radishes on your own...even if they're tasty and refreshing right out of the fridge on a hot summer day.
A few weeks back, when I was deciding what to do with the radishes left in the fridge, I remembered another refreshing summer treat: Panzanella salad. And so my heat-baked mind decided to combine the two and try something new.
If you have any crusty stale bread laying around, this is a great way to use it up. I did not have 2-day old bread on hand (because honestly, fresh bread doesn't last that long in my kitchen) so I went out and bought a beautiful sourdough loaf. It did mean I had to turn on the oven to toast it. Summer, oven, extra heat...hooray! (insert eye-roll here)
Cranking up the oven aside, this is such a great last-minute salad that doesn't require a ton of input for awesome output. Even though it's best the day of I took it with us to our new house up in the Catskills and was munching on it well into the weekend! Oh yeah, we bought a house in the Catskills 🙂 Between my amazing job and the search/purchase/fixing up of the house, my time has been a little stretched thin. That is to say: I wish I could be blogging more than I have been. It's really awesome to be here now!
The nice thing about using radishes here is the combination of spice and refreshment they add to a salad. I really dug this without adding tomatoes (I've been eating them like they're going out of style, and well I guess with Fall on the horizon they kinda are...) but you can totally add them back in or anything else that strikes your fancy! This is definitely a "by taste" sort of recipe - test out different amount of herb and vegetables till it tastes right to you and you can totally think of the bread, herbs, and dressing as a base for something different on the dinner table. Enjoy!
½ loaf of bread (I prefer a ciabatta or sourdough)
1 clove of garlic (optional)
4-5 radishes (mixed types)
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 small shallot or ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
Handful of parsley, chopped
Handful of basil, sliced into thin ribbons
1 Tbsp capers
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1½ Tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F
Optional: slice garlic clove in half and rub the raw garlic on slices of bread to add an extra layer of flavor.
Slice bread into cubes (or tear into chunks) - think bite size, about 1 inch or smaller.
Place bread on parchment paper lined baking sheet and toss with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. You want the bread to be mostly coated, but not soaking.
Place in oven and bake 15-17 minutes until bread is firm/toasted/golden but not browned/burnt. When finished, place the bread cubes on a rack to cool.
Slice radishes thinly, either by hand or with a mandolin (although mandolin will get it perfectly thin!) and place in a bowl along with sliced and seeded cucumber, thinly sliced shallot or red onion, chopped parsley, ribbons of basil, capers, and toasted bread.
Make dressing! Mix together mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Let it sit at least a half hour before serving so the bread can soak up some of the amazing dressing and everything comes together.