Farmers Market Meals: Strawberry Panzanella Salad

Every month the locavore chefs at Cuisine en Locale whip up a special recipe for the Beat focusing on seasonal ingredients. Below you’ll find what’s cooking in June.

As the first days of summer approach, the green colors of spring give way to the reds and oranges of fruit. The first fruit to show up in our ONCE a Week shares and at your farmers market are strawberries. Ours came from Red Fire Farm in Granby. This week we featured the berries in a thyme-infused yogurt parfait.

StrawberryAlthough they are most commonly used in desserts, strawberries make a sassy surprise in savory dishes as well. This month’s recipe is for Strawberry Panzanella Salad.

Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad, traditionally made with tomatoes, created by way of using leftover bread to stretch fresh ingredients as far as you can. Don’t fret the next time you can’t resist that beautiful crusty loaf at the farmers market (even though you already have a loaf at home) cube and freeze the leftover bread for future panzanellas.

This salad is a delicious way to ensure you never waste good bread, and because of its simplicity it lends itself to adaptation based on what’s fresh at the farmers markets at the moment.

Strawberry Panzanella Salad

1 pint strawberries
2-3 slices of day-old bread (choose a dense, crusty loaf to stand up to strawberry juice)
2 tablespoons mint (adjust to your taste)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons melted butter
Pinch Salt
Optional: mozzarella cheese from Mozzarella House in Everett or Sophia’s Greek Yogurt for topping.

Wash, trim and quarter strawberries. Cut mint into strips and add to the strawberries. Coat the strawberry mixture with vinegar and let marinate.

Brush the sliced bread with melted butter and grill (or broil) until grill marks appear, careful not to burn.

Combine toasted bread cubes with strawberry mixture. Season with salt and garnish with a dollop of Sophia’s Greek yogurt or mozzarella cheese and a sprig of mint.

P.S. The Union Square Farmers Market is my favorite place to shop for local, seasonal, fresh produce and it’s on this and every Saturday morning through November 23.

Image above courtesy of Cusine en Locale.

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