Last night as I was grilling a few simple burgers for dinner, I went on a hunt into the depths of the fridge to see what kind of salad I could cobble together. I really had no idea what I would find, but managed to pull out a seedless cucumber and one each of a red and green bell pepper. With no greens turning up, I started thinking along the lines of a pasta salad of sorts, which progressed even further when I spied the pint of grape tomatoes hiding behind the stand mixer. I started chopping my vegetables into bite size chunks, and as I did so I spied a hunk of day old bread.
I was sad about the bread. I'd made it fresh yesterday to accompany a simple tortellini soup. Andy's been working very late, so he arrived home several hours after we'd finished eating, and I'd just assumed he'd wrap it up when he was finished with it. Not so. This morning I found the bread still sitting on the counter, not wrapped. And it was humid, so I knew the bread suffered. Rather than throw it out, I thought I'd salvage what I could for toast for breakfast and then torment myself staring at it all day. But as I chopped those vegetables and glared at that bread, inspiration struck. There was plenty of bread there, forget the pasta, I was making panzanella.
Panzanella is a simple salad created by Italians as a way to use up day-old bread. They would cube the bread and toss it with the vegetables of the day and a simple vinagrette. Anyone can make a panzanella! I cubed up my bread and tossed it with some olive oil, garlic powder and herbes de provence and toasted them up. The cubes went into the vegetables and we had ourselves a great salad with our burgers.