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Panzanella

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
May 26, 2010

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Serves 6

The traditional Italian salad panzanella was born from the need to use up stale bread. Some versions call for soaking the loaf in water. It’s more luxurious to rub a crusty baguette with olive oil and garlic and grill the pieces for a few minutes, lending smoky notes to the finished bowl of arugula, tomatoes, and red onion. For a pretty presentation, choose multicolored cherry tomatoes.

1 baguette, halved lengthwise
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, halved
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes in mixed colors, quartered
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh arugula, stems trimmed
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1. Light a charcoal grill and wait for the coals to turn gray or set a gas grill to medium.

2. Brush the baguette with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Grill the baguette for 2 minutes on a side or until crisp and slightly charred. Remove bread from grill and rub with garlic cloves. Tear into bite-sized pieces.

4. In a large bowl, combine grilled bread, cherry and regular tomatoes, onion, arugula, basil, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently.

5. Divide the salad among 6 plates and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick