For 21 years, I have lived my life under the “those who don’t cook, eat” mantra. I possess absolutely no culinary skill, instinct, intuition, ability—call it what you want, I don’t have it. That’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of noble attempts, but after setting off the fire alarm on multiple occasions, I’ve come to the realization that my cooking is a health hazard in more respects than one.
That is, until I discovered Greek Panzanella on Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa. Panzanella is a Florentine salad that contains vegetables and bread soaked in a vinaigrette dressing. This recipe is simple — minimal slaving over the stove and a very low prep time of 35 minutes. Simplicity aside, anything with feta cheese and carbs has my seal of approval. It is the perfect quick fix for an amateur cook such as myself.
So, savor this delicious Greek Panzanella, which will surely have your whole family screaming “Opa!” until the last bite.
Recipe courtesy of BarefootContessa.com
Good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
For the vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.
Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.