TENDING the TABLE

Spring Panzanella

The spring cleaning bug has invaded our house and our lives. I’ve been furiously scrubbing and dusting, organizing, gardening, purging the garage of three years worth of accumulated stuff and trying to stay sane throughout it all. More often than not, after a long day of cleaning,  I find myself without a dinner plan. Luckily, we almost always have a loaf of good bread on hand and the garden is putting out all sorts of herbs and greens. This time of year we find ourselves eating a hearty salad for dinner almost every night. Sometimes I’ll throw in some legumes, nuts or grains or some pieces of bread fried in herbs and garlic until crisp and golden.

For this recipe I used Grand Central Bakery’s peasant levain. Their breads are a staple in our house and I love knowing that I’m not only getting a great loaf of bread but that I’m also supporting a local business that shares my values. Grand Central Bakery began with one woman selling homemade bread on a small island in the San Juans. Today, the company has grown substantially, but is still a family run business and remains true to its mission to use the best sustainable and local ingredients including stone-ground, whole wheat flours grown by small Pacific Northwest Farmers who care about preserving the soil and the environment.

I truly believe that what we eat matters, not only for our health, but for the health of the planet. Even when I’m hungry and tired I try to create a meal using ingredients and products that I can feel good about eating and sharing with others.

*This post was sponsored by Grand Central Bakery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. Note: Every Tuesday throughout April and May, Grand Central Bakery is offering free samples and discounted loaves to customers.

Spring Panzanella

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BREAD

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 slices Grand Central Bakery peasant levain or como bread, torn into 1-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons parsley, minced

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

FOR THE DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from ½ lemon

1 teaspoon stone ground mustard

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon honey

FOR THE SALAD

½ head frisee, trimmed and roughly torn

½ head radicchio, trimmed and roughly torn

1 cup snap peas, cut in half

½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced

¼ cup shaved parmesan

TO SERVE

2 eggs, poached

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

PROCEDURE

FOR THE BREAD

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Combine the olive oil, torn bread, garlic, salt, thyme, parsley and pepper in a large bowl and toss well.

Fry the bread until golden and toasted on all sides.

FOR THE DRESSING

Combine all the ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the dressing until well mixed and creamy.

FOR THE SALAD

Combine the frisee, radicchio, peas, fennel, and parmesan in a bowl. Add the toasted bread and toss with the dressing.

TO SERVE

Serve the salad with a poached egg and salt and pepper to taste.