by Trisha Benevides0
Zesty Chicken and Beauty Box Vegetable Sourdough Panzanella
I had the opportunity to receive the Omaha Steaks Fresh Vegetables Beauty Box and play around with it. Not only was it beautiful as its name denotes, but it worked perfectly for me to create a panzanella.
What is this panz-whats-a you’re talking about, you ask? A panzanella is, by simple definition, a bread salad. Ahhh…bread. Got ya back on board with that one, didn’t I? Never met a carb I didn’t snuggle with all the affection of a stalker.
Yes, a panzanella is based on torn, toasted bread tossed together with an array of proteins and veggies and a vinaigrette of some sort. It’s like having some lettuce with all your ranch-dressing soaked croutons. I think that whoever invented this concept needs a medal. Or maybe chocolate. And a puppy.
Let’s chat panzanella structure…
If you’re going to make a bread salad, you darn well better use good bread. I toasted off some Boudin sourdough bread for this recipe. Some of you may recognize the name if you’ve ever visited San Francisco – it’s a staple restaurant at Pier 39. (Yes, that’s the bread you tried to smuggle on the plane in your carry on but was confiscated by the stewardess who just started Atkins and is jonesing for bread.) Luckily, they’ve just put a satellite restaurant in my town and long story short, they’ve posted my picture in their breakroom and know to only let me buy one loaf of bread per day. Thank goodness for wigs and sunglasses.
You can choose to toast it or not depending on the overall result you’re going for. I like it when the bread is toasted and the vinaigrette soaks into it.
One must also use a good, hearty protein option in a panzanella. For this one, I used a couple Omaha Steaks Zesty Chicken Breasts, cooked to perfection and chopped into bite-sized morsels. It was tender and juicy and just about amazing. Whatever protein you choose, make sure it has plenty of flavor. Choose bold, bright seasoning that will really pop against the backdrop of bread and greens.
With all these sturdy ingredients, I decided to use up my just-received bounty of greens from the Beauty Box. The Petite Salad Sensation, Pea Tendrils, Crystal Lettuce Quartet, and Garlic Root made for a gorgeous variety of tasty greens. I also tossed in the cucumber blossoms for extra color and flair.
Panzanellas can handle a variety of vinaigrettes so just choose flavors that correspond well with your ingredients. I wanted to go for light and bright, so I whipped up a honey mustard concoction that made angels sing.
Here’s where you can really play and show personality, even if you lack it in real life. Think cheeses, fruits, and nuts, or anything else with crunch and va-va-voom. I added a good handful of raw pumpkin seeds, tri-color raisins, and blue cheese. These ingredients created depth of flavor that enhanced the honey mustard vinaigrette.
Summer is a-comin’, and this dish will be the perfect summer dinner for those hot nights. Hold onto it and make it happen!
- 6 cups Toasted Sourdough Bread (you can use pre-toasted croutons for a shortcut)
- 2 Omaha Steaks Zesty Chicken Breasts, Cooked, Cooled, and Chopped
- 1 handful Omaha Steaks Garlic Roots
- 1 box Omaha Steaks Crystal Lettuce Quartet
- 1 box Omaha Steaks Petite Salad Sensation
- 1 box Omaha Steaks Pea Tendrils
- 1 box Omaha Steaks Cucumber Blooms
- ½ cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup Tri-Color Raisins
- ⅔ cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
- ½ cup Dijon Mustard
- ½ cup Honey
- ¼ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- 1 Omaha Steaks Garlic Shoot
- 1 tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Pepper
- In a large bowl, combine bread, chicken, greens, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and blue cheese crumbles.
- In a food processor, combine mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, garlic shoot, salt, and pepper.
- Pulse to blend. Pour over the panzanella and toss.
- Serve immediately.