Panzanella with Asparagus and Pecorino Romano
A twist on the traditional Tuscan version, this panzanella adds asparagus and pecorino romano to the wonderful combination of toasted bread and ripe tomato.
Serves: N/A • Prep Time: N/A • Cook Time: N/A
Panzanella with Asparagus and Pecorino Romano
I was first introduced to panzanella only a couple of years ago while watching a TV show where famous chefs ate a fabulous meal at someone’s opulent villa in Tuscany. The whole opulent Tuscan villa aspect was out of the question, but the panzanella, a Tuscan salad made from ripe tomatoes and soaked stale bread, was doable.
Panzanella is actually a pretty wonderful dish, and certainly a good use of stale bread. Fragrant and crunchy, the oil-toasted leftover bread absorbs the liquid of whatever dressing you use, as well as the flavorful liquid of unseeded tomatoes, and becomes tender while still keeping its shape. It’s also a pretty good canvas upon which to add additional ingredients and flavors. Complimentary herbs such as basil or parsley won’t do any harm, and adding onion or garlic can insert a bit more zip.
Fragrant and crunchy, the oil-toasted leftover bread absorbs the liquid of whatever dressing you use…
My recipe here at Forq adds in tender young asparagus, which have been cut into small pieces. I considered sautéing the asparagus before adding it, which would certainly work if you feel like doing the extra work, but panzanella is nice because of how simple it is. The freshly chopped asparagus was flavorful and added a nice snap to each bite, and the cheese, olive oil, and green onions helped to pull everything together into something more composed.
To dress all I used was a bit of red wine vinegar, which I sprinkled over the top of the salad with black pepper prior to mixing. If your bread is really stale you’ll likely want to let this dish sit a bit so that the bread can become tender, around fifteen minutes, but if you’re using a fresher loaf you’ll probably be best off serving this immediately.
Sharing recipes with your friends is as easy as pie!Download Now!
In a large mixing bowl combine the asparagus, scallions, tomatoes, and kosher salt. Mix the ingredients well and set aside. Next, place a large frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil to the pan. When the oil is simmering add the cubes of bread and stir well to coat the bread in oil. Toast the bread in the pan until golden brown on all sides and fragrant, which will take around six minutes. If you feel like the pan is too dry, go ahead and add some additional olive oil as needed.
Once the bread has been fully toasted, transfer the cubes to the large bowl of vegetables and add the black pepper and pecorino romano cheese. Sprinkle the surface with red wine vinegar and toss well to combine. Serve immediately if you want your bread to be crispier, or let sit for ten to 15 minutes if you’d like the bread to be softer.
Here’s how to make this delicious recipe
In a large mixing bowl combine the asparagus, scallions, tomatoes, and kosher salt. Mix well and set aside.
In a large frying pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering add cubes of bread and toast until golden brown on all sides, about six minutes. Add additional olive oil as needed.
Toast the bread until golden on all sides
Transfer the browned cubes to the bowl of vegetables and add the black pepper and pecorino romano cheese. Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar and mix well to combine. Serve immediately, or allow an additional ten minutes for bread to soften if desired.
- 1/2 pound asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces with woody ends trimmed
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 3 medium tomatoes cut into 1 inch dice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 day-old rustic or sourdough bread cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil (plus additional)
- 1/3 cup shaved pecorino romano cheese
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Other foods we’re featuring on Forq
Perfectly Cooked Salmon SkinGiving salmon skin a chance; how to cook and eat this crispy treat.
Indian Style Kofta MeatloafKofta is a minced meat on a skewer.
Why not make a giant one to have as meatloaf?
Chocolate Quinoa CookiesThe quinoa in these cookies makes them extra moist and fluffy! My ultimate chocolate cookie.
Spaghetti Squash FrittersNo excuses are needed to justify making these delicious, Southwest-flavored fried squash pancakes.
Mexican-inspired MeatloafMake it as spicy as you like, serving it with salsa and guacamole.
Sweet Potato Quinoa BurgersSweet potato makes a brilliant binding agent in these vegan burgers. Add whatever extra veggies you fancy!
Eggs with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Garlic ScapesThis dish uses some of the true gems of the late spring and summer and combines them with farm fresh eggs for a dish you’ll want to make again and again.
Who’s Cooking Today
Jacob Dean is a freelance food and travel writer, recipe tester, and culinary product reviewer based in Washington, D.C. He is a regular contributor to The Cook’s Cook Magazine, DCist, Industree, has freelanced as a recipe tester for the New York Times, and has been published by the Washington Post. Jacob has tried over twelve hundred unique beers (he keeps count).
You can find him online at jacobdeanwrites.com, on Twitter as @SchadenJake, and on Facebook as Jacob Dean Writes.
More delicious asparagus recipes!
The full FORQ asparagus archive, straight from our FORQ Enthusiasts.
[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”17786760″]