I'm a huge fan of panzanella, but in my mind its built on the back of pure summer tomatoes. Sure, the bread helps bulk things out, but it's the tomatoes that add the character to the dish. But this recipe from Bobby Flay's Grill It uses grilled asparagus as the main ingredient. With the weather warming up, I decided to give it chance.
I'm really glad I did. The asparagus get sweet and charred on the grill, which balances beautifully with the briny olives and capers. Sure the tomatoes aren't up to mid-season peak, but the red wine vinegar helps add some tartness. It's a perfect spring meal for the grill.
- 6 slices country style bread
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
- 8 red cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 8 yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Niçoise olives, pitted
- 2 tablespoons capers
Heat the grill to high. Grill the bread slices until slightly charred on both sides. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
Toss the asparagus with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Cut into 1-inch segments.
Add the vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the rest of the oil in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined. Add the tomatoes, onion, olives, capers, grilled bread, and the asparagus. Toss well and set aside for 30 minutes before serving.