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Monday, December 3, 2012

Shrimp Panzanella Salad

So basically I could eat this salad twice a week for the rest of my life. Summer, winter, rain, shine, doesn't matter, it always tastes good and is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. In fact I am not even sure what I ever ate before I started making it! 

Two ingredients that you never want to scrimp on in my opinion when making this salad, and your going to make this salad, is the ginormous homemade croutons and the basil. A must and a must! And a tasty addition this time is my little friend the shrimp. D.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.

Shrimp Panzanella Salad

2 cups grape tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1/4 red onion
1 bunch of basil
Large homemade croutons

Balsamic Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic smashed
1-1 1/2 Tbl sugar
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad dressing combine all of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Set aside to let smashed garlic infuse into the oil and vinegar.

The real star of this salad is the homemade over-sized croutons. I have made croutons from homemade bread and store bought and have loved both. For this salad I usually buy a garlic bread baguette. The roasted garlic in the bread is a great addition to this salad. I slice the bread into 1-1 1/2 inch slices then continue to cut it into cubes. I place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. I salt the bread fairly well at this point. Stick the bread in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and turn every bread cube over onto another side to brown for an additional 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them after you turn them since everyone's oven heats differently and I would hate for you to burn your yummy croutons.
After your croutons have been baked you can start preparing your veggies. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half, slice your cucumber in quarters, thinly slice a halved onion and give your basil a ruff chop. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and set aside. Next prepare your shrimp however you like whether it be grilled, pan seared, baked etc. Once cooked add to your bowl of veggies. In my opinion I like to add the croutons at the very last second before I am going to dress and serve my salad because I want to postpone the croutons from absorbing any moisture from the vegetables or dressing for as long as possible. Once you are ready to serve your salad combine your croutons with the shrimp and vegetables and add your pre-made salad dressing.


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