Brescia Salad with Bread, Tomato and Green Beans

September 11, 2010

Aunt Suzy Says

This is another great recipe from Lynn Rosetto Kasper’s cookbook The Italian Country Table.  It’s a variation on Panzanella – tomato/bread salad – with the addition of green beans.  It’s beautiful as well as delicious, especially when made with red and yellow tomatoes (or a variety of heirloom tomato colors).   This salad is fast and easy, taking advantage of the current bounty available from gardens and farmers’ markets.  Serve with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese for a main dish salad.

3/4-1 pound fresh green beans

3 to 4 3/4-inch-thick slices of coarse-grain bread

1 large clove of garlic, cut in half

4 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks

1-2 tablespoons basil, sliced

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Splash of red wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper to taste

Prepare the green beans by snapping off the ends and snapping into 2-inch lengths.  Cook the beans by either plunging into boiling water or steaming.  Either method should take about 4-5 minutes to cook to perfection – not too crisp, not too limp.   When finished cooking, plunge into cold water.  Drain and cool, then pat dry in a towel.

Rub a salad bowl with half the garlic.  Toast the bread or, if you’ve got a grill going, grill it.   Rub the bread on both sides with the garlic.  Tear into 1-inch pieces.  Toss the cooled green beans, the tomatoes, bread pieces and basil together in the prepared bowl.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar together.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour over the salad and toss to fully blend all ingredients.

Notes on the ingredients:  Sour-dough based bread is delicious with this salad.  Trader Joe’s has a sour-dough seeded bread that I like to use when I can get it.  This is one of those recipes that you can experiment with amounts of various ingredients, more or less, to your taste.

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