Adam Schell

The Good Padre’s Lemony Tomato & Mint Panzanella Salad

This is a recipe nearly straight from the book, page 71, that Davido gives to the Good Padre. Here’s how the Good Padre prepares it. This dish is done best with ripe and delicious garden or farmers market tomatoes in season (heirlooms, please!). However, off season baby tomatoes, like cherry, grape and little pear also work well. If you can find them, as their not readily available, Alfonso olives are Mari’s favorite (mine too). If not Greek Kalamata or Gaeta work just fine. Pecorino is most traditional and delicious, but other sheep’s milk cheeses work nicely, try Manchego or even Feta sometime. (Serves 4)

3 to 4 medium to large tomatoes, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 lb. Crostini, croutons or several days old stale bread broken up into large, bite-sized pieces
1 cup Alfonso (best choice!), Kalamata, or Gaeta olives, pitted and torn in half
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese cut into smallish pieces or chunks. Not grated! You want small chunks of cheese
2 lemons, zested, then sliced in half and juiced.
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves julienned or rough chopped
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves julienned or rough chopped
2 T. of finely chopped chives (optional)
2 oz. red wine vinegar
3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves chopped fresh garlic, or 1 tspn garlic powder
Salt, black pepper and a pinch of cayenne to taste

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix gently yet thoroughly. This salad should be a bit wet to soften the bread slightly. If dry, add more lemon, vinegar or oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and eat immediately. If you wait too long, the bread turns to soggy mush. Enjoy.

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