Friday, June 28, 2013

Two Summery Salads

These photos are from a shoot I did for AARP magazine. Funnily enough, they comprise some southern dishes that happened to be a whole lot of fun to prepare... click the link for recipes. FYI, two things: I didn't use any sugar in the salad dressing (and it turned out *great*) and, ramen noodles tossed in melted butter and toasted are actually tasty. But I wouldn't make it a habit...

Thanks to Caitlin, my photo editor, for making the process so smooth and just all-around-great, and to Lauren and Jim, for making the work fun and filled with so much laughter. Oh those hams.

And this wonderful salad, below - almost that time of year again! - appeared in the latest issue of Anthology Magazine. It is my intention to do a redux in the next few days....after all, you can never have enough tomatoes.

For those of you who want to make this fabulous, simple salad:

Essential Panzanella

1 loaf of bread (I used challah, but any country loaf will do)
a large handful of shallots
a number of perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes*
good extra virgin olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar
large handful of basil leaves
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

*I like a variety of hues and flavors—like the savory, intensely juicy Cherokee Purples, and bright, acidic Green Zebras

Cut bread into thick slices and then tear into bite-sized pieces. In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, fry bread in olive oil. Peel shallots and cut into large wedges. In a bowl toss shallots with olive oil, and using a stovetop grill if you do not have access to one outdoors, grill on all sides. 
Cut tomatoes into bite-sized chunks.
Combine these three, arranged on a large serving platter, and dress with the balsamic and olive oil. Scatter with a bit of large flake sea salt, cracked pepper, and then the basil leaves. 
Make enough for guests to have seconds, because everyone will ask for more!

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