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Two Summer Salads - Panzanella & Grilled Peach, Prosciutto

Continuing on with the seasonal summer eats, I got invited to a BBQ this past weekend. I took that as the perfect opportunity to make something that would be fun to share on the blog. I decided to go with a classic panzanella because, in my opinion, you can never go wrong with bread, ripe tomatoes, and garlic. And since it was a BBQ I also wanted to try to recreate a salad I recently had at Aperto, an Italian restaurant here in the city. It involved grilled peaches, prosciutto, shaved Parmigiano and a gorgonzola vinaigrette. Need I go on, or do I have you salivating already?

My friend Jen came over Saturday morning to help me and we decided to check out the Alemany Farmer's Market. If you live in San Francisco I highly suggest checking it out. It was substantially less expensive than the Ferry Building, which since moving here 3 years ago, has admittedly been my favorite place to go on Saturday mornings... Nothing against the Ferry Building, perfect for grabbing coffee, breakfast, and taking in a little people watching, but if you are strictly going to shop, Alemany will have you covered and then some.

Jen and I knocked out our list in under 45 minutes, the highlights being: heirloom tomatoes (some really pretty orange and yellow striped ones), purple peppers (which are sadly not purple on the inside), freestone peaches (for only $2!), and an assortment of other goodies. And yes I am a total food dork.

So anyways onto the salads! Look how pretty those colors are.

Summer Panzanella

Sourced from Smitten Kitchen, Adapted loosely from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread (I used a wheat loaf), cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (Go for the fun colors to make it pretty)
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (I used half red wine and half apple cider instead)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

2. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Toss with the vinaigrette.

4. If you are going to eat immediately, mix the bread in. If you are transporting to a party or want to prep early, add in the bread cubes just before serving.

Peach, Prosciutto & Arugula Salad

Loosely adapted from Aperto

3 ripe freestone peaches
5-6 slices of prosciutto
1/2 cup shaved hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino
Few handfuls of arugula, you can use spinach as well

For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
3 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup light or heavy cream

1. Slice peaches about 1/4 inch thickness in rounds. Place on a medium hot grill for 3-4 minutes per side until they start to glisten and get nice grill marks on them. (in the photo the peaches aren't grilled, but we did 2 separate batches and I failed to take picture)

2. Shred the prosciutto into pieces and thinly slice the cheese. Toss it all together with the the arugula and peaches.

3. Mix together all ingredients for the dressing and toss with the salad.

The dressing recipe I chose was thicker and chunkier than I would have liked, better suited for a cobb salad or something heartier. It turned out to taste really good, but for this particular salad I would have liked something a bit thinner and smoother. Next time.

I have to say, both salads were a hit at the BBQ and a nice balance to all the burgers, sausage, and chicken. And magically the sun came out in the Richmond just for us, just for the afternoon. If you live in San Francisco you know how rare that is for August...


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