Peach + Halloumi Panzanella
It’s here for you when your bread’s on its last leg and August’s fruit is at its peak.
This summer salad originated in Tuscany as a way to use what may be wasted (although I have made it with perfectly fresh bread, just because). It’s colorful, herbaceous, acidic, sweet, savory...it’s got it all and comes together with such ease and intuition. Sub in whatever stone fruit you’ve got, or go for the classic and use all tomatoes.
3 cups Crusty Bread (Sourdough, Ciabatta, Baguette), 1 inch cubed
8oz Narragansett Creamery Grilling Cheese, sliced into ½-inch thick planks (mozzarella or feta are good subs here)
4 Shiro Plums
About 20 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
Handful of Husk Cherries, halved
2 Scallions, thinly sliced
Handful of Basil + Mint, leaves torn
3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for grilling
Kosher Salt + Fresh Black Pepper
Crushed Red Chile Flakes (optional)
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Add the bread and toss to coat it in the oil. Toast the bread until browned and toasted on all sides; it’ll take 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then set aside.
Re-heat the skillet (or a grill, if you have) over medium-high, lightly coating with olive oil. Sear the cheese on both sides until golden browned and bubbly - you’ll know the cheese is ready to flip when it comes off the pan or grill with ease. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
Make your dressing. In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, chile flakes if using, about 1 tsp of kosher salt, and lots of fresh black pepper.
Slice and dice the fruit, adding the pieces to the dressing as your work so that they don't oxidize in the open air.
Toss in the toasted bread, halloumi, scallions, and herbs. Taste for seasoning ... this salad begs to be well seasoned with kosher salt, it really brings out all the flavors of the fruits.
Let it all marinate for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh mint, basil, and some flakey sea salt if you have.