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Author Notes: I was craving a panzanella salad (okay, I was craving croutons), and since I had some cherry tomatoes and a cucumber, decided to put them into panzanella form. The best part was that I had a small hunk of halloumi cheese, and decided to use that as well.
I just made this for a solo lunch, but you could easily increase the amounts to make more. Usually when I make panzanella, I make a vinaigrette and throw in salami, peperoncini, and some baby greens, but since I was using nice farmers market tomatoes and really great extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, I went with simpler flavors and simply tossed everything in the oil and vinegar at the end.
Try to have all of the elements of the salad cut to about the same size. —Treble723
For the croutons:
- 1 1/2 cups cubed good quality bread (I wanted a LOT of croutons - you could certainly use less)
- 3 cloves garlic, halved
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the salad:
- 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- 1 handful English cucumber in large dice
- 2 ounces (about) of halloumi cheese, cubed
- Excellent quality extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- In a sauté pan (non-stick is best for when you sear the cheese later), heat an equal amount of olive oil and butter with the garlic until just starting to sizzle. You’ll need enough to coat all of the bread cubes, and can always add a little more if you need to. Toss in the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper (if your pan is too small, do this in batches). Saute over medium low to medium heat, tossing frequently until the croutons are golden and crisp on the outside. If you notice the garlic getting any more than a rich golden brown, fish them out and toss them.
- Meanwhile, assemble the salad. Cut the vegetables and place them in a bowl. Cube the cheese and leave on the cutting board. Once the croutons are done, empty them onto a plate lined with a paper towel, and wipe out the pan. Replace on the heat and add the halloumi (no need to add oil), turning gently until golden brown on all sides.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the veggies in the bowl, top with the cheese and croutons, then drizzle with the oil and vinegar. Toss and taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary and enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for A&M Smackdown / Your Best Tomato Recipe