On hot summer nights, a panzanella salad is the perfect companion to grilled chicken or pork. With some great tomatoes and crusty bread that’s been cubed or torn into breadcrumbs, you can pull together a rustic and hearty side dish. In this version, vibrant green beans and yellow wax beans pump up the color and nutrient quotient. The croutons are simply seasoned with olive oil, garlic and thyme, bringing a savory warmth to the dish. Soak your sliced shallot in red wine vinegar while you make the salad, and you will add a pretty pink element with bright acidity. I love when only a few ingredients come together in such a sophisticated way.
Wax Bean Panzanella with Garlic Croutons, Cherry Tomatoes & Pickled Shallots
adapted from Kitchen Garden Cookbook
1 big handful yellow wax beans, washed, dried, and trimmed
1 big handful green beans, washed, dried, and trimmed
1 cup of cubed or torn bread, from a loaf of country bread
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tsp chopped thyme
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Place the sliced shallot in a small bowl and cover with the red wine vinegar. Season with fresh cracked pepper. Let soak while you make the salad.
2. Preheat the oven to 375º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the croutons with 1 tblsp of the olive oil, the pressed garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and spread out on the pan. Toast until golden brown, stirring a few times, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, fill a saucepan three-fourths full of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the yellow and green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 or 4 minutes. Immediately remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and dry well.
4. In a large bowl, combine the beans and tomatoes. Pull the shallots out of the vinegar and add to the bowl. Season the vinegar with salt and whisk in the remaining 2 tblsp olive oil. Pour over the salad and toss. Add the croutons and gently toss again. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.