Food & Drink

Use your bounty of summer produce with Tuscan panzanella salad

Turn a crust of bread into a delightful Tuscan panzanella salad.
Turn a crust of bread into a delightful Tuscan panzanella salad. Tribune News Service

Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, olives and two-day-old bread are the basis for this panzanella salad. Tuscans don’t waste a crust of bread. They turn it into a delightful summer salad. The old bread is rehydrated with juice from fresh tomatoes and vinaigrette. If rustic artisan bread isn’t available, toast whole grain bread until it is very firm. This salad is a perfect way to use the bounty of fresh seasonal tomatoes and vegetables.

Adding shrimp to the salad turns it into a light and refreshing summer dinner. The recipe gives a simple method of cooking fresh shrimp. It’s a great way to cook shrimp to make sure they are not overcooked. Bought, peeled, cooked shrimp can be used instead.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: This delicate salad would go well with a delicate white Muscadet from France.

Helpful hints: Any type of firm, country-style bread can be used. If it is too fresh, toast it for several minutes. Any type of salad dressing can be used.

Countdown: 1. Prepare the salad ingredients. 2. Soak bread. 3. Make salad. 4. Add the dressing.

Shopping list: Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight’s dinner: To buy: 1 loaf whole grain bread, 1 small bunch scallions, 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small bunch basil, 1 medium cucumber, 1 lemon, 1 small container pitted black olives, 1 small container pine nuts and  3/4 pound raw, peeled and deveined large shrimp. Staples: Reduced-fat olive oil and vinegar dressing, salt and black peppercorns.

Tuscan Panzanella Salad (Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad)

3 large slices whole grain bread (one to two days old)

4 scallions, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes (about 1 cup)

6 pitted black olives, cut in half

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons reduced-fat olive oil and vinegar dressing (divided use)

3/4 pound raw peeled and deveined large shrimp

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup pine nuts

Soak the bread for a few seconds in a small bowl of water. When just soft, squeeze out all the water and break into small pieces. Place bread in a bowl with the scallions, tomatoes, basil, cucumber and olives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon salad dressing and mix well. Divide between two dinner plates.

Place shrimp and lemon juice in a pot filled with water making sure the water covers the shrimp. Bring the water just to a simmer with the bubbles starting around the edge of the pot; the water will start to turn white. Take the pot off the heat and let sit 1 minute. Drain and add the shrimp to the salad with the pine nuts. Toss with the remaining tablespoon dressing.

Per serving: 416 calories (30 percent from fat), 13.7 g fat (2 g saturated, 4.9 g monounsaturated), 278 mg cholesterol, 41.9 g protein, 34.4 g carbohydrates, 8.2 g fiber, 430 mg sodium.

Yield: 2 servings

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