Have you been to the farmer’s market lately? If you haven’t, you’re missing out on all the gloriousness that is summer produce. Tables are teeming with corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini, blueberries and figs. What better way to celebrate summer than to have it all in one bright, beautiful salad. The only thing that would make it better is by adding bread. So I did.
This salad could totally stand on it’s own and be the perfect summer dinner. However, if you feel like you need a little protein, some spicy shrimp wouldn’t go amiss. You can grill them right alongside the corn just to make it easy on yourself.
I’m sure that originally panzanella, which is really just a bread and tomato salad, was created to use up day-old bread. If you have day-old bread, great. Use it. I never have day old-bread. Really. Bread doesn’t last that long around here. So I took a baguette and made my own large-sized croutons. You want them to be pretty crunchy so they don’t get soggy in the salad. Crunchy bread, good. Soggy bread, not so much.
- 1 small french baguette, batard or boule, cut in large chunks
- 3 T good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Toss the bread with the olive oil and salt. Bake at 275˚ for 20-25 minutes until crispy and slightly browned. This can be done 1-2 days before serving.
For the salad:
- 3-4 good tomaotes, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, deseeded and cut in 1-inch cubes
- ½ medium red onion, sliced thinly
- 4-5 ears fresh corn, shucked
- 2 T avocado oil or other high heat oil
- 3 T capers, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup good quality olive oil
- 3 T red wine vinegar
- salt + pepper
- Fresh basil for garnish
For the shrimp:
- 1½ pounds medium shrimp
- 1 T avocado oil
- 2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- ½-1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
While bread is baking (unless you’ve done it ahead of time) combine shrimp with oil and spices. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for several hours. Spear onto metal or bamboo skewers. Set aside.
Heat grill to medium high. While shrimp are marinating and grill is heating, combine olive oil, capers and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Rub corn with avocado oil and set aside. When grill is hot, place corn on grill. Grill until corn is charred on a few sides, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. When corn is almost done (and if there’s room) place shrimp skewers on grill. Grill 2-3 minutes on each side being careful not to overcook. Remove everything from grill and set aside to cool slightly. While shrimp and corn are cooling add tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion to dressing in bowl. Toss well to coat. When corn is cool enough to handle slice kernel off the cob and add to the tomato mixture. Add bread to salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh basil.