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July 09, 2013

EGG PANZANELLA WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING

Egg Panzanella with Balsamic Dressing has bread, beans, olives, tomatoes, cheese, and eggs. It is a salad that is fortifying enough to be a complete vegetarian meal.

Egg Panzanella with Balsamic Dressing
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I hope you had a great July 4th. Mine was a memorable one…but not in a good way. How so? Of all of the people in New England, all of the thousands and millions of who flocked to the beaches, I’m willing to bet that we were the only ones who spent two hours driving there only to immediately return home. Nope, we didn’t even get out of the car!

There was no parking to be found and some of us (I won’t say who) didn’t have the patience to wait it out. We made one pass around the lots and did what all rational, level minded people would do…headed straight home! In all fairness, there really was NO (legal) parking available. All of the lots (even the prime ones at $30 and $40 a pop) that our car crawled to were full! Cleary, plan B was not an option for this group of surly souls that day. I’ve since learned to appreciate the humor in what is now and forever will be known as my 4th of July fiasco. Oh well, c’est la vie! Wish me luck next time!

Egg Panzanella with Balsamic Dressing, closeup view

Something that makes me feel good is panzanella, an Italian salad. Originally, it was made with stale bread, onion, tomato, basil, olive oil, and vinegar. We have gotten pretty creative with our modern day Panzanella where a host of other ingredients are added. 

My version of the salad is a complete meal in one as well as vegetarian. It has carbs; it has fruit and veggies; it has dairy; it has protein. It is a perfect meal for a hot summer day.It is delicious, nutritious, fortifying, and satisfying.  


EGG PANZANELLA WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING



INGREDIENTS:

1-inch thick slices of fresh crusty bread (enough bread to be equivalent of 6 cups cubed)
5 large eggs
4 cups large-diced tomatoes (about 4 tomatoes)
1 cup black medium olives
1 cup chopped onion
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cup cut) green beans
1 8-oz. tub of pearl mozzarella, drained
3/4 cup torn basil leaves
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste



INSTRUCTIONS:

Place eggs in a small saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil on high heat. Shut off heat and cover. Allow to sit for 20 minutes (remove pan from burner for a couple of minutes if it continues to hard boil then place back on burner). Drain water. Peel and cut into slices. Set aside.

Fill a small saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add beans and cook for about 8 minutes. Beans will be tender, but with a slight crunch. Remove beans earlier for more crunch. Drain in colander and run under cold water for 1 minute to cool and preserve the color. Cut into thirds. Set aside. 

Toast bread in toaster oven. If using conventional oven, set to broil. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Broil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, turn over and broil the second side for about 1 1/2 minutes or until golden brown. Keep a close eye while broiling as content can burn quickly.  

Peel garlic clove and slice in half. Rub on both sides of hot bread. Use a second garlic clove if needed. Allow to cool. Cut bread into bite size cubes. Place in to large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, onion, olives, green beans, mozzarella, and basil leaves.  

Place balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Drizzle over salad. Add about 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Working quickly but gently, toss to combine, working the bread off the bottom of the bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Place eggs on top. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.


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