A few recipes have surfaced in my repertoire as "tried and true" ways to make a quick, satisfying, beautiful meal with the ingredients on hand. Sure, there are some cornerstone ingredients that must be available, but with them on your side you can quickly make a meal suitable for guests. Those recipes are:
- Stir-fry (cornerstone ingredient: cooked rice)
- En Papillotte (cornerstone ingredient: foil, parchment -- can also be done in covered pan)
- Tartines (cornerstone ingredient: fresh baguette)
- Pasta (cornerstone ingredient: um, pasta)
- Panzanella (cornerstone ingredient: day-old baguette)
Today's PanzanellaDay old bread is the cornerstone ingredient. Everything else can be based on what you have on hand. If you don't have tomatoes, which add liquid, you can use vinaigrette. Fresh vegetables are important too.
1/3 sourdough baguette (any artisanal bread can substitute)
1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2t parsley, minced
1c baby arugula
.5c cherry tomatoes
.5c fresh peas
1 purplette onion, minced (small shallot is a good substitute)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the baguette in half length-wise, then slice; the pieces of bread should be bite sized. Toss bread with 1/2 the olive oil, salt, and 1/2 the garlic -- toast in oven at 350 degrees till bread begins to brown -- 3-5 minutes; the bread should be crisp. Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and toss with remaining garlic, olive oil, arugula, parsley, peas and onion. Remove the bread from the oven, mix into the salad mixture, and serve.
A word of caution: panzanella does not hold well, so prepare it just before serving and make just enough, not more.