Spring Panzanella Salad

A spring twist on a classic Italian salad of croutons and fresh vegetables, this salad incorporates spring’s early harvest with asparagus and leeks.

Croutons:

  • 8 cups, day old bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup Pete’s Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Toss together and bake at 400F on an oiled baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or until golden brown, still retaining some bounce in the center. Set aside and cool.

Vinaigrette:

  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 3 tbsps. Noble Hand Crafted Heirloom White Wine Vinegar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Chef Jason Lynch Dijon Mustard

Mix all ingredients together and whisk well, set aside.

Salad:

  • 5 leeks, washed, green tops removed and set aside, bottoms trimmed
  • 1 bunch or approx. 1 pound green asparagus
  • 1 bunch or approx. 1 pound white asparagus
  • 1 can Northern White Beans
  • 1 cup basil, torn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt

Blanch, steam or grill leeks (white section) and asparagus until tender but not over cooked. Allow to cool completely. Toss with beans, basil, lemon zest, vinaigrette and season to taste. Garnish with more lemon zest, thinly sliced leek tops, cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

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