Leave it to Jeremy Fox, who did amazing things with vegetarian cuisine at Ubuntu in Napa (and maybe soon at a joint called Smith?), to come up with a different, maybe better, spin on panzanella. I’ve had the recipe for this peach panzanella tucked away for safe keeping (since 2007!), until some hot weather and good peaches came my way. That was this weekend…it’s been a scorcher everywhere. Here in the PNW, we’re thanking the weather gods. Across the rest of the country, everyone else is wondering, when will it ever end?!
I think I first had a traditional tomato panzanella at Caffe Centro in San Francisco, just across the street from where I worked. Their version had diced tomato, cucumber and corn with a balsamic dressing. A great summer salad. If the name is anything to go by, it’s the stale bread that makes a panzanella. But after having this version, I’d say it’s the peaches.
Chef Jeremy Fox’s recipe calls for Acme’s Herb Slab, an amazing rosemary ciabatta-like loaf you can find easily in the Bay Area (and that I’ve been known to pack in a carry-on home), but if you grill up a few slices of a good ciabatta, or in Seattle or Portland, Grand Central Bakery‘s Como, you’re set.
The peaches are part of the dressing and part of the salad itself. Now having made it, I’d say you could grill the one for the salad and keep the other fresh, if it’s fairly ripe. It’s delicious, any which way.
Grilled Peach PanzanellaPrint Recipe
- 2 peaches, halved and pitted
- 3 slices of Grand Central Como or ciabatta
- 1/4 c. olive oil, divided
- Salt & pepper
- 2 T. shallot, minced, root end reserved
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 10 oz. bag arugula, rinsed and spun dry
- 6-8 ciliegine mozzarella, or 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2 in. pieces
Drizzle peaches halves with 2 T. olive oil, salt & pepper. Grill the peaches over low-to-medium heat until softened and skins are easily removed. Finely dice 2 peach halves and the remaining 2 into 1/2 in. chunks or slices. Set aside. Grill the bread until lightly charred and rub with the shallot root end. Cut bread into 1 in. pieces.
In a small bowl, mix remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallot and finely diced peaches. Salt & pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, mix together arugula and dressing. Top with remaining peach and ciliegine. Toss lightly to coat with dressing.
Adapted from Chef Jeremy Fox in the San Francisco Chronicle