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Our favorite Panzanella recipe, revisited!

Panzanella is the perfect salad for summer. Originally a chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes, see how to give a French twist to this Toscan and Umbrian easy and refreshing bread salad with the recipe below! Bon appétit !


Lavender smoked trout and summer peach Panzanella

by le bien-vivant


All you need for this dish is a cast iron skillet and some heavy-duty foil. I ask for my fish to be butterflied at my local fishmonger, but if you’re up for the challenge, get a whole fish and butterfly it. Unlike wood-chip stove-top smoking, this technique is very subtle and won’t smoke up your house. The result is a clean fish taste with a hint of tea and lavender.


I make my trout a day ahead, and usually much on a bit with fig & olive artisanal crackers once it’s chilled in the fridge for a few hours. It stores well for 3 days in a glass airtight container. Since this is a cold salad, I would suggest making your trout in advance as well. The tea is also simple to make. I always bring food grade lavender back from my trips to Provence, and dry mix it with any nice green tea. In a pinch, I would use Vert Provence by Mariage Frères.

 

A spin on the classic Tuscan bread salad, this peach panzanella features summer's finest produce: juicy peaches, velvety heirloom tomatoes, and fresh basil.


With this healthy French mash-up, the gourmet flavors are guaranteed to impress your guests.


Servings: 6

Prep Time: 45min

Total Time: 1.5hr









 

Ingredients


For the trout:

1 fresh whole trout, butterflied and skin on

1/4 tsp sea Eatwell lavender salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp brown sugar


For the “smoke”

1 cup dry rice (brown or white)

1/2 cup lavender green or black tea


For the salad:

½ of a fresh French baguette, or a rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 medium-large ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large firm-but-ripe peaches, sliced

½ small red onion, very thinly sliced

Maldons sea salt, a few pinches

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

5 tablespoons good-quality avocado or extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped



Directions


Thoroughly rinse fish and pat dry with paper towel. Take butterflied fish and season it with the salt, pepper and sugar.


To smoke the fish:

Set skillet on the fire and set heat to a low medium. Measure out a bit of foil that will seal the smoke and cover the fish. When the pan is nice and hot add the rice and tea. Create an air gap between the fish and the smoke. You can use a commercial grate, or bundled up aluminum foil. When the pan is hot and you start to see rice popping, place the fish skin side down on the grate. Seal the whole thing in foil so that smoke can’t escape. It will be a very subtle smoke so don’t worry if there are no billows. It’s important that the heat isn’t too high or you will burn the rice. If the rice burns, start over with new rice and lower heat. When all of the fish has turned from a fleshy color to an opaque white, it is done. The time will vary widely with the size of the fish. Check it after about eight minutes. When it is done remove it from the heat and cool it down. The fish should be very easy to separate from the skin at this point

For the Panzanella:

Slice your bread into one-inch cubes and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toss with oil and salt, and bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes until toasted and crisp.

Meanwhile, pit and slice your peaches into wedges. Chop your tomatoes into one-inch pieces. Transfer the peaches and tomatoes to a colander fitted over a bowl. Sprinkle them with salt and allow the fruit juices to collect in the bowl (for 15 minutes, while the bread is baking). These juices are super flavorful and you’ll use them in the vinaigrette!

Remove the colander and whisk into the juices the oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes and peaches, along with the red onion, and sliced basil.

Add the toasted bread cubes and vinaigrette, tossing to coat.


Allow the panzanella to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving, tossing the salad occasionally if you can. As your plating, add flakes of the smoke trout, then season with salt and pepper and a little bit more fresh basil.




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