Happy 96th birthday Grandma! 96. Seriously. Let’s celebrate your really-so-close-to-a-century with a Sunday potluck. Family, friends, food, and 96. Can’t get over that number!
A beautiful lunch. Hugs and kisses. And a catnap before work. Ahh…vacation awaits me in a few short days, after a fun yet busy 3 week stretch of back to back work. A good problem to have when you love your jobs. Simple, easy to prepare food is all the more appreciated when you’re lacking time. So, hello stale bread, let’s make something delicious out of you. Oh, and the best part (aside from eating it) is that so much of this can be prepared in little segments, when a bit of time pops up here and there.
This is by no means a traditional Panzanella, but is super yummy nonetheless.
Grilled Peach Panzanella
Serves 6-8 people
- 1 day-old baguette
- 5-6 ripe peaches, cut in halves
- a couple handfuls of green & yellow beans
- 3 pints cherry tomatoes
- 4 (or more) fresh corn cobs
- a couple handfuls of purslane (totally optional)
- mint, basil, and chives (garlic or onion), diced
- olive oil, butter
- sea salt
Steps that can be done ahead of time
- Cut the baguette into roughly square-inch croutons. They can be a little on the big side. On a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil on top, and toast in the oven until just crunchy. Set aside — you can keep this in the fridge for a day or two until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
- I used a stovetop cast iron grill for the peaches. More simple than full on grilling, and I don’t have an outdoor grill anyway. Heat the grill on medium, melt some butter on it, and place the peach halves, flesh down, onto the grill. Let cook for a few minutes until nice and fragrant. You can set them aside in a separate bowl in the fridge, with the peach juices.
- Shuck the corn and remove the silk (the bits that look like hair). With a sawing motion, cut the kernels off the cob, taking care not to cut too close to the center. You want to leave just a bit of the kernel on the cob, so you only take of the sweet bits, not the woody, tough part close to the center of the cob. Sautee the kernels in a pan with a pad of butter, to taste, and cook just until the butter melts. Sprinkle some sea salt on top.
- Roast 2/3 of the cherry tomatoes. Spread the tomatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and sea salt, and roast for about 15 minutes in an oven at 350, or until they look puckery. Set these aside in a separate bowl, with the liquid.
- Pop the tops off the green and yellow beans and blanch them in boiling water for no more than 30 seconds. You just want a very quick cook so they retain their bite and get a nice, bright color. These can also be set aside the day before.
Steps to do the day of
- If you prepared some of the items the day before, you’ll want to remove them from the fridge to bring them to room temperature. All of the liquids will be used to plump up the bread. Place the croutons in a big bowl, adding the peaches, corn, and roasted cherry tomatoes (the remaining raw tomatoes will be added later). You don’t really need to add the green beans in until the end. Right now, you just want to let the bread soak up the juices. Feel free to pour a bit of olive oil on top, too. The bread with crackle and pop, and if you’re a little overtired on a Sunday morning, it will be immensely amusing to listen to. Mix together with your hands a few times to get everything really going. And keep doing this throughout.
- Slice the remaining (raw) cherry tomatoes and lightly salt them, to draw out their juices.
- Let the bread do its thing and soak up the juices, while you go and relax. Hey, maybe you should go watch an episode of The Wire. Or take a nap.
- After an hour or so, throw in the rest of the tomatoes with their juices.
- Add in the green and yellow beans.
- Sprinkle the diced herbs on top.
- Eat, share, enjoy, maybe read a book outside and nap. Sounds great, right?