A couple of weeks ago, the River Market Farmers' Market in Little Rock was a stop for Toyota's Farm to Table Tour. This tour is going to all kinds of cities and markets this summer and deliciously matching up local farmers with local chefs. Go to the link, http://www.farmtotabletour.com/ and see where they have been and support the talented farmers and chefs who are featured. There are still lots of stops left this summer. If the Farm to Table Tour is headed to your town, get your forks ready!
As you can see from the link, there were many of our local Arkansas farms and chefs involved...matches made in culinary heaven, right here in our backyard. The Red, White and Food this week salutes the tour, all the farmers and chefs and gives an especially big thank you to Capi's in Little Rock for sharing their recipe for a fabulous Panzanella with me.
As you can imagine, this rustic Italian salad had me at "hello". Take a look at this beauty...
The list of fresh-from-the-farm ingredients, the aroma of basil and vinaigrette, the promise of juicy, tangy freshness...all were oh, so enticing. I had to have some and I wondered if I could buy the whole bowl, platter and all. Settling for a generous sample, I was in heaven. What a perfect salad for a hot summer day! As soon as I got home, I emailed for the recipe, knowing you'd love a taste of this culinary marriage made-in-heaven, too.
Many, many The Red, White and Food thanks to Capi, her staff and Sue's Garden and Carpenter Produce. The more we are in this together, the better everything gets and tastes!
Capi's Panzanella for 12
* The Panzanella needs to sit for 1 hour before serving. Lots of luck waiting! Also, do not hold over for a second day (no worries, not a chance there will be any left, but feel free to cut the recipe in half!) and keep all ingredients at room temperature.
For the vinaigrette:
1 1/2 cups olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic cloves
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon minced anchovy
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until well combined. Set aside. Taste for salt and pepper.
For the bread
6 cups rustic French bread
3/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400. Tear or cut bread into bite-sized pieces. Toss well with olive oil making sure all pieces are coated. Spread onto a sheet pan in one layer and bake until slightly golden, 3-4 minutes. Bread should be crisp on outside, still soft on inside. Watch carefully and let cool.
For the Panzanella
6 pounds heirloom tomatoes
2 cucumbers, peeled
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cups drained, roasted red bell peppers, cut into strips
kosher salt and fresh pepper
Cut the heirloom tomatoes into one inch chunks. Slice cucumbers lengthwise in quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Chiffonade basil leaves. In a large bowl, combine tomato chunks, cucumber, bread, red onion, basil and roasted red pepper with the vinaigrette. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand one hour at room temperature before serving.
To serve, place Panzanella on a chilled glass plate. Garnish with 4 cherry or grape tomatoes, 6 or more slices of halved Kalamata olives, crumbled Ricotta Salata and a basil sprig or toss together in a beautiful bowl as pictured. For 12 servings, you will need 3 cups cherry tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups Ricotta Salata, 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half lengthwise and 12 whole basil leaves.
For more on the delightfully creative and fresh food at Capi's, visit this link, http://capisrestaurant.com/. Don't miss The Story of Stella. Wait until you see her in person. Beautiful! And, along with lots of other information on the link, you will also see that Capi's is a founding member of the Arkansas Green Restaurant Alliance. When you are head out the door, grab another fork. Trio's, their sister restaurant, is an equally tasty destination as well!