Okay, so berries are not veggies. But can anyone really object when we get to eat sweet berries by the pint-full all month?
I personally am a huge fan of using berries in savoury dishes—the sweetness of Summer berries add a whole new dimension to salads, soups and even meat dishes.
Panzanella—the Tuscan bread and tomato salad—is my all-time favourite salad, hands-down. I made my own version using the strawberries and an ingredient that grows like wildfire in our neck of CNY: Dandelion greens.
The sharp bitterness of the dandelion greens is perfectly complemented by the sweet, balsamic-macerated strawberries and crisp, buttery pan-toasted croutons. I could eat this literally every day and never get tired of it.
Here's the recipe below; you can add your favourite cheese to the salad—I suggest ricotta salata, fresh mozzarella, or buratta.
Strawberry & Dandelion Green Panzanella
Makes 4 servings
1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 bunch dandelion greens
1 loaf stale baguette, cut into 2” cubes
4 cloves garlic, slivered
1/2 small red onion, very finely sliced
1 small bunch basil
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
Sea or Kosher salt, and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste
Ricotta salata, fresh mozzarella, or buratta (optional)
In a bowl, mix together the strawberries, onion, capers and14 of the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add cheese, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste; mix and set aside.
Heat 14 cup olive oil in wide saute pan over medium-high heat. Add diced baguette and garlic to pan; add a small pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until golden-brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Empty pan into strawberry mixture; toss all ingredients and add remaining vinegar and olive oil.
Allow to sit at room temperature until a some of the liquids have been absorbed by the croutons, about 5-10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.