Recipe for Panzanella Salad. Serves 4. Takes under 30 mins. to make.
In this recipe, stale bread is called for. If you have a great Tuscan loaf at your disposal, by all means use that. I used a three day old baguette, revived with my mother’s technique: She would leave the bread in its paper wrapper, run the wrapper very quickly under the tap, put it in the oven and voila, the bread came to life. (Mother was hardly Tuscan but thrift was her middle name). There may seem to be an obscene amount of butter and olive oil used here, but as Andrew pointed out, ‘who doesn’t like fried bread’ to which I would add ‘or fried bread with tons of garlic’.
To make the salad:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Half a baguette or other good bread, cut into ½” cubes
3–4 lbs. any and all kinds and colors of the best vine-ripened tomatoes available
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly and soaked in water for 15 minutes prior to
adding to salad.
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh basil leaves
For the Tuna Panzanella the next day:
1 7 oz. can of tuna, preferably Italian, in olive oil.
A handful of fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat ¼ cup of the oil and butter together in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When butter has melted, remove skillet from heat and add garlic and bread cubes and mix well. Place skillet in oven and bake until bread cubes are golden and crisp, 10-15 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and set aside to cool.
2. Put toasted croutons on paper towels to absorb any excess butter and oil.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes: If using cherry tomatoes, remove stems and slice in half. For larger tomatoes, core and slice into medium cubes. Put tomatoes in a large bowl, add vinegar and remaining ¼ cup oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Shortly before serving, toss bread and basil with the tomatoes. Adjust seasonings. Spoon panzanella into each of four shallow soup bowls and garnish with sprigs of basil, if you like.
4. Save the leftovers in a sealed container, leaving them out on the kitchen counter overnight.
5. The next day, put the tuna fish in a salad bowl, season generously with pepper and salt and then toss the leftover Panzanella salad and the fresh basil with the tuna. Serve on beds of lettuce.
Recipe for Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes from Fine Cooking Magazine. Serves 6. Takes about 1 hour to make in two ½ hour times slots, one for par-boiling the potatoes, one for roasting them in the oven.
12 to 15 baby red or yellow potatoes (about 1-1/2 oz. each;
1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
2-3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or melted duck fat or butter
Boil the potatoes:
1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan (preferably in one layer) and cover with at least an inch of water. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they are completely tender and can be easily pierced with a metal or wood skewer. Make sure they are cooked through but don’t overcook. The total cooking time will be 30 to 35 minutes.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dishtowels on your countertop. As the potatoes finish cooking, remove them individually from the water, and let them drain and sit for just a minute or two on the dishtowels.
Flatten and cool the potatoes:
3. Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Repeat with all the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
4. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil. Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.
Roast the potatoes
5. Remove the pan of potatoes from the refrigerator, if prepared ahead. Heat the oven to 450°F. Alternatively, if you have a convection function, turn it on and set the temperature at 400°F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp. salt and pour the olive oil over them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and that they are well coated on both sides. Roast the potatoes until they’re crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 minutes if using a convection oven, 30 to 40 minutes if roasting conventionally, turning over once gently with a spatula or tongs halfway through cooking. Serve hot.
Make Ahead Tips
Do the busy work—boiling and flattening the potatoes—up to 8 hours ahead. Let potatoes cool completely, and store them on the pan, lightly covered, in the fridge. Then all you have to do at the last minute is coat with oil and salt and roast.