Our Tribute to the Entertaining Guru. . .From. . .The Barefoot Bloggers

I never have heard the work Panzanella until Melissa of Melissa's Kitchen chose it out of all of Ina's recipes. What a great word. I just love saying it, Panzanella. The flavors coming to gether to create the masterpiece makes this a meal worth enjoying all by itself, which is what we did. My hubby couldn't get enough of the salad. . .and the toasted Tuscan bread cubes not only totally made this dish BUT hubby is a nut for anything that resembles a crouton. =). He liked the salad so much that he took the last of what was left over for lunch. Actually, I fried a few pinto bean and cornmeal cakes in 2 T. of butter, set the two cakes in a Tupperware dish; added leftover broiled Sockeye Salmon, shredded up; then I topped everything with the leftover salad and the little bit of vinaigrette at the bottom of the salad bowl. He wants me to make more. . .so do I.

I really enjoy food that has different textures and a little crunch along with a pretty visual display. I bought the colors of bell pepper that Ina specified in her recipe because I wanted to see the reds, yellows, greens, creamy whites, and toasty browns mixed together offering a true Italian flavor. I have had champagne vinegar for a while BUT I had to remove the wrapper off the cork on top to use it. An unused bottle of anything in my kitchen is always a shocker to me. Toasting cubed Tuscan bread in extra-virgin olive oil can make a person start to smack his and her lips together in anticipation. Hubby kept sneaking toasted bread cubes when he figured I wasn't looking. I thought this was kind of cute but I wasn't going to tell him this or half the bread would have been gone. Many of us Barefoot Bloggers put our own small personal touches to the recipe. Checking each other's ideas out is half of the fun for me. The first part is the waiting to find out what new recipes will be selected for the month, making the recipe and figuring out how I want to present the end result for pictures, then getting to see everyone else's ideas. I wouldn't join a group that I couldn't see myself having a LOT of fun with.

The recipe is posted on the Food Network site.

I'm not usually a big Basil person but this salad would not be a huge success without it, as far as my family was concerned. I am going to confess that I halved the amount of basil. I got scared, what can I say. 20 basil leaves is a LOT when the leaves were as big as the ones I had.

The vinaigrette was so tasty! I love the cheerful yellow color, although after pouring the vinaigrette over the salad, you know longer get to see the color =). Silly me.


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