Saturday, June 3, 2023

ChezCindy: Summer Panzanella Salad with Roast Chicken


Whether you roast a whole chicken indoors in your oven, outdoors on a grill, or even store-bought rotisserie chicken, this summer panzanella salad is a wonderful summer dinner.  

A panzanella salad is an Italian dish that uses stale bread made into toasted croutons, along with the best tomatoes available, a few salad greens and herbs tossed with a vinaigrette.  I often add roasted chicken to make a complete meal, being sure to drizzle the chicken pan juices over the platter so that the croutons soak up all of that rich chicken flavor.  

Summer Panzanella with Roast Chicken
Day-old bread, (baguette or country boule) cut into 1-inch cubes, 3 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups mixed salad greens
5-6 sprigs fresh herbs, basil, thyme, tarragon and/or parsley, leaves removed from stems

4 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters or 2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6-8 tablespoons vinaigrette, homemade or store-bought

1 roast chicken, with pan drippings

Parmesan cheese curls, about 1/3 cup

Make the croutons:  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Working with a large, rimmed sheet pan, place the cubed bread onto the pan.  Drizzle the cubes with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.  Using your hands, toss to combine.  Spread the cubes evenly over the sheet pan.  Bake in the oven until toasted and brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  

Make the vinaigrette.  Roast the chicken, keep warm.  Or use store-bought.  

Putting it all together:  Place the croutons onto a large serving platter.  Cut the roast chicken into pieces (leg, thigh, wing, each breast cut into 2 pieces).  Place the chicken onto the croutons.  Season the tomatoes with salt, then scatter over the platter.  Drizzle 1/4 cup, or more up to 1/2 cup, of chicken pan drippings over the chicken and croutons.  Add the salad greens and fresh herb leaves to the platter.  Drizzle 4-5 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the salad, tomatoes, chicken and croutons.  Top with the Parmesan cheese curls.  Serve with additional vinaigrette if desired.  

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