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{Recipe Redux} Caesar Panzanella with Basil


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This month’s Recipe Redux challenged the use of ‘little fishes’. What does this mean, you ask?  Well little fishies of the sea include smelts, sardines, and the most familiar- and my personal favorite- anchovies.

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The Fireman in my life is so grossed out by my love for anchovies.  I have in fact ordered them on a pizza- Totally against that of my childhood favorites- the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Michelangelo was clear in his statement for no anchovies on his pepperoni pizza- but I desire otherwise.

I think most people dislike the thought of anchovies- but the reality most don’t know they have probably had them at one time or another.

Take for example this recipe for Puttanesca - my baby brother, a.k.a the Ramen Noodle Inhaler, would have flipped if he knew beforehand there were anchovies in this dish- but he ate two platefuls clean!

Another common recipe that includes anchovies is traditional caesar dressing- as I have used here for my bread salad- or more familiarly called Panzanella.

There are a hundred and one ways to make a panzanella. Beyond the classic  combo usong tomatoes, I’ve seen the salad made with bell peppers, others using cucumbers and an array of leafy vegetables- like raddichio or savoy cabbage. There’s usually red onion, garlic and basil, too- but the choice is yours on the ingredients and herbs to use.

Summer is in full swing at the moment- providing a huge assortment of tomatoes at my local market.

Oh, how I wish I could keep a plant alive for more than 2 weeks.

Blasted thumb.  You lack too much green.

Even though I wish these ingredients came from my abundant vegetable garden- they didn’t.  But being at peak season, these were very affordable to purchase at the grocery- making this a cheap addition to my dinner table.

{Recipe Redux} Caesar Panzanella with Basil

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup each


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (I used tri-color), quartered
  • 6 ounces day-old sourdough bread, torn or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds scooped out, and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons drained balsamic capers
  • 1 cup (about 10-12 leaves) fresh basil, sliced into thin ribbons, divided
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper



In a large salad bowl, place the tomatoes, sourdough hunks, cucumber, red onion, capers, and the sliced basil.

Caesar Dressing:

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and vinegar. Drop in the anchovy paste, garlic, and salt and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, shake it all up in a jar. Taste for seasoning; it may need a touch more salt or a few cracks of pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Allow the salad to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the bread to soak in the juices.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 136; Fat: 6.8 g; Carbohydrate: 16.6 g; Fiber: 1.8 g; Protein: 3.5 g; Sodium: 349 mg

Don’t forget to check out the other Reduxer’s and their use of the ocean’s ‘little fishes’!


  1. You had me at bread salad. Looks devine!

  2. Love panzanella salad! can’t wait for tomatoes to be at their best mid-summer to enjoy this. Beautiful pics too!

  3. Thanks for reminding me how much I love panzanella salad! Summer staple – can’t wait for everything to be in season in Boston!

  4. I love love panzanella salad and alas, my thumb is the same color as yours. I even kill mint that everyone claims grows like a weed :) Your salad is just gorgeous and a glowing example of everything good food wise that comes with summer!

  5. What else to say besides YUM!!! I could eat a big plate of this right now! Love the addition of capers and I’m ALWAYS looking for a good light Caesar dressing…this looks like a winner. Will make soon!

  6. Now that looks yummy! especially that my stomach is ready for lunch! I’ve never used anchovies paste and just recently made something with canned anchovies. Nice to meet you!

  7. I think I could definitely eat anchovies this way, with bread, veggie, and yummy dressing! Sorry about your lack of a green thumb, but I’m kind of in the same boat as you :-) Happy ReDux!

  8. This is yummy! Looks magical!

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