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A Tale of Two Salads (and the weekend)

September 2, 2013

Hello!  Happy Sunday!  We just watched the movie Compliance, which was good but SUPER intense. 

We had an intense weekend too..intensely fun.  (See what I did there?)

On Friday, after a full week of teaching and an afternoon department meeting, we were more than ready for a fun, laid-back night.  We watched Side Effects (also good), enjoyed a pizza courtesy of Amy’s, and I threw together this easy kale salad:


For this massaged kale salad, I thinly sliced 1 bunch of kale (minus the stems), then massaged the kale for about five minutes with salt and pepper, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar.  Then, once the kale was nice and massaged (massaging it breaks down the fibers in the kale and makes it really supple and delicious), I tossed it with chopped tomatoes, chopped carrots, chopped mushrooms, grated parmesan, and about 1/4 cup hemp seeds.  Delicious!

On Saturday night, after a day that included a trip to the gym and a playdate with another couple and their sweet son, Ryan and I headed out, sans Lila, to attend a potluck party with friends.  For our contribution, I put together this panzanella, which is basically an Italian bread salad.

When Ryan and I were in Italy (wow, what a douchey wait to start a story), we ordered panzanella at a restaurant in Florence and the waiter tried to talk us out of it, telling us that “it wasn’t something most Americans enjoy.” 

Ummm…what’s not to enjoy about a salad that is made of bread?!

We went ahead with the order, and enjoyed our panzanella immensely.  I’ve made it a few other times at home since, like here and here.

For this panzanella, I cut half a large loaf of ciabatta bread into cubes and toasted them for about five minutes in the oven—I did this because our bread was fresh, not stale.  As strange as it sounds, stale, day-old bread is perfect for panzanella.  But, if you’re working with fresh bread, drying it out in the oven for a few minutes works just fine!


I then tossed the bread cubes with: chopped tomatoes, chopped, peeled cucumbers, 1/2 parmesan cheese chunks, the sautéed slices of one small red onion, 2 tbsp. capers, fresh basil leaves, and 1/4 cup good olive oil.


Altogether now:


Panzanella is fun because you can really play around with the additions/flavors, depending on what you have and what you’re in the mood for.  Plus, I repeat: it’s salad, made of bread.  What’s not to like?

This salad was a hit at the potluck.

I have another great set of recipes to share from dinner tonight, but I’ll save them for tomorrow.  Hope you’re having a nice holiday weekend!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2013 12:50 pm

    Americans don’t like panzanella? What? I love it!

    • September 2, 2013 4:30 pm

      I know!! I thought it was such a weird thing to say that we wouldn’t like!

  2. September 2, 2013 1:55 pm

    Yum! Both sound good and honestly I never knew why people massaged kale. Good to know!! 🙂

  3. September 2, 2013 9:53 pm

    I’m one of those Americans that happens to love panzanella. You can’t go wrong with bread! It sounds like you had a lovely weekend Anna. I want to curl up and watch a movie now!

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