Say hello to summer on a plate! Grilled Corn Panzanella Salad with tomatoes, charred corn, mozzarella cheese, basil, and homemade croutons.
Let’s talk farmer’s markets! Where are your favorite ones? What do you love buying?
I’m such a slacker. Two Sundays ago was the first time I made it to a farmer’s market this summer. I wanted to make this panzanella salad where the fresher the ingredients, the better the salad. And where can you get fresher than the farmer’s market (minus owning a garden)? I even bought homemade bread.
I didn’t realize how picky I was at choosing a market until I’ve been to some doozies. The ones where there are four tents and only one is actually selling fresh produce. I’m sure your sauce and jams taste wonderful, but I want to make my own.
If you live in Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill is my favorite. Market Square is great too, but it’s during the week so I don’t often make it.
The one recipe you MUST make as soon as you get home is this Grilled Corn Panzanella Salad, which is a Tuscan salad made of bread and tomatoes. You can buy most of the ingredients from the market – tomatoes, basil, corn, red onion, and bread. If you’re super lucky, you can even buy fresh mozzarella from a cheese vendor.
It’s also ideal to eat when it’s scorching outside and you are starving but don’t feel like eating. A fresh cold salad is what I crave (probably to balance out all the ice cream I eat).
Remember when I posted my Really Good Freekeh Salad and said I didn’t like salads? Panzanella salad is another salad I fell in love with during culinary school. Pretty much bread and tomatoes without any lettuce in sight. Now that’s a salad I can get behind!
Of course when I completed my salad course it was January, so it wasn’t exactly prime tomato season. I knew once summer came around, I was going to buy all the heirloom tomatoes and eat this salad every day. Except now it’s almost August and I only ate this twice. What is wrong with me?!
I talk more about how amazing heirloom tomatoes are with my tomato soup recipe, but the TLDR summary is they have an intense tomato flavor you won’t find with other varieties. THAT is what a tomato should taste like. You can even buy baby heirlooms.
If you can’t find (or afford) heirloom tomatoes, get the freshest, tastiest tomatoes you can find. Quality is an absolute must. Nothing is more saddening than mushy tasteless tomatoes.
No grill for the corn? No problem! Cook the corn however you like (here are some ideas to “grill” it without a grill).
- 3 cups 1-inch cubed rustic bread
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 large ear corn, shucked
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup sliced red onion
- 4 ounces mozzarella ciliegine (cherry-sized mozzarella balls), drained and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 375F. Have a baking sheet ready.
If it's too hot for the oven, you can use the stove top.
- In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool completely.
If you're cooking on the stove, heat a large skillet. Once hot, add the bread and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes total. You may need to do this in batches if your skillet isn't large enough.
- Meanwhile prepare an outdoor grill for high, direct heat. Add the corn, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, turn, and cook 5 more minutes. Repeat turning at 5-minute intervals until kernels are charred, 15-20 minutes total. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Once cool enough to handle, remove kernels from the cob.
- Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt.
- In a large bowl combine the tomato, onion, mozzarella, basil, corn kernels, and bread cubes. Toss with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately or allow to sit for 30 minutes for the bread to soak up the vinaigrette.