Italian Cooking With Stacy Adimando

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James Beard Award-winning author Stacy Adimando joins us to discuss her new cookbook, Piatti: Plates and Platters for Sharing, Inspired by Italy.

Event: Stacy will be speaking with Christene Barberich from Refinery 29 on Thursday, May 16th 7PM at the 92nd St Y.

RECIPE:

Reprinted from Piatti by Stacy Adimando with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019

TOMATO, RAW BEET, AND STRAWBERRY PANZANELLA with cucumbers and shallots

In the past, Tuscans were said to bake fresh bread only every few days, which meant that many of their bread-based dishes were derived from loaves several days old. Panzanella is a well-known salad that makes good use of them, the stale bread cubes coming back to life from soaking up the sweet juices of the tomatoes. This one also contains crunchy raw beets and sweet strawberries. Use a hearty loaf of white or whole-wheat bread—fresh or day-old—that holds together well when diced.

TOASTED BREAD

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups [about 8 oz, or 230 g] cubed

[¾ in, or 2 cm] country Italian bread or baguette

¼ tsp kosher salt

SALAD

3 medium raw beets [about 1 lb or 455 g], peeled using a vegetable peeler

1 large and 1 medium firm-ripe heirloom tomatoes [1 lb 5 oz, or 595 g, total], preferably a mix of colors and varieties, sliced into wedges [4 cups]

1½ pints [15 oz, or 455 g] cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of color s and varieties, halved through the stem sides [3 cups]

1 medium [about 8 oz, or 230 g] cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced [1¼ cups]

1 cup [140 g] thinly sliced ripe strawberries

¼ cup [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup [60 ml] red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp minced shallot

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing

SERVES 8 TO 10

TOAST THE BREAD: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the bread and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well toasted and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

PREPARE THE SALAD: Slice the beets into ¼-in- [6-mm-] thick rounds. Then thinly slice each round to create 1-in- [2.5-cm-] long and ¼-in- [6-mm-] thick sticks (you will have about 2 cups). Place the beets in a large bowl and add the heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, and shallot. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper and whisk well to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss briefly and gently to coat. The salad can sit for up to 1 hour before serving. Do not add the bread until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, stir half the bread pieces into the mixture. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, top with basil leaves, the remaining pieces of bread, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and serve.

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