Panzanella Caprese Salad
Today it was 100 degrees out. Likeeee legit, oven-sweltering, uncontrollable sweating on the streets heat. I know 100 isn’t even that hot, but I live on top of a god-awful swamp. This means the air is THICK, humid and gross. So the last thing I want to do when I come home from an awful day spent at the dungeon office is make a hot meal.
I’m sweaty, I stink, and my apartment is hot as balls. Any attempt at turning on the oven or stove for extended periods of time will drive me mad. What I can manage, is this summery recipe that’s a snarky take on panzanella salad. (Panzanella is usually a good way to use up stale bread, but once I had a craving for it, and had to get creative with new bread.)
2 slices of good bread (I suppose you could use the store-bought mushy kind, but you’re better than that)
handful of shredded mozzarella (fresh and thinly sliced also works)
1 good-sized tomato
handful of basil chiffonade (fancy French word for shredded into long strips)
pat of butter
salt and pepper
Just FYI, this recipe is super easy and if you find yourself spending more than 15 minutes making this, you should probs reconsider whether or not you are allowed to wield sharp objects, like knives.
1. Dice the tomato into bite-sized pieces and throw them into a bowl.
2. Chiffonade the basil (3 leaves should do the trick). Stack them on top of each other, then roll them up like a cigar and slice into pretty thin strips. See? Easy-peasy. Add to the tomatoes.
3. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, add a splash of balsamic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up to get the flavors going.
4. Place a small skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle a handful of cheese over one slice of bread and cover with the other slice. I know this goes against everything I’ve ever told you, but don’t make it too cheesy. The trick is to have a thin cheesy layer holding the crispy bread together.
5. Grilled cheese time! Melt a pat of butter in the skillet. When it starts to bubble (but before it starts browning), gently place the sandwich in the pan. Press down on the sandwich every now and then to get it nice and crispy. It should take like 2-4 mins. per side to get it toasty brown and delicious.
6. Cut the grilled cheese into bite-sized squares. Toss with the tomato salad. The grilled cheese cubes will soak up all of that extra olive oil/balsamic sauce that you would usually lick up like a savage. It’s perf.
[You could obvs just replace the bread in the recipe with old bread if you have it and eliminate the extra (but delicious) step of making the grilled cheese croutons.]