Panzanella is a classic Tuscan bread salad. Chef Brain Streeter prepares this flavorful salad with roast rack of lamb.
½ loaf country style bread, cut into 2 inch cubes
¼ c. olive oil
3 garlic, chopped
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb. peas, shucked
¼ c. Pecorino cheese, grated
2 tsp. mint, chopped
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 bunch asparagus
2 oz. arugula (rocket salad)
1 small spring onion, sliced thin
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 oz. ricotta salata, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the bread in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil, chopped garlic, parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and bake on the center shelf. Remove when croutons are starting to get crisp but still slightly chewy, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Blanch the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set half the peas aside for later. Place peas in the work bowl of a food processor with the pecorino cheese, mint, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.
Heat a small skillet over high heat. Cook the pancetta, stirring often until crisp. Drain on a papertowl and set aside. Cut the asparagus into one-inch segments. Blanch in boiling water for a minute until tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
Place the croutons in a large bowl with the arugula, asparagus, peas, spring onions and pancetta. Add a heaping spoonful of the pea pesto, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with the pesto and to evenly distribute the other ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish with the crumbled ricotta salata cheese. Serve with a roast rack of lamb.