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Greek Flavors Panzanella Salad

Gregory Anne Cox

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Serves 4 - 6

2 pounds of tomatoes-very ripe and juicy-cut into eighths
1# fresh cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced into ½" pieces
½ of a small red onion, cut in half and slice very thinly with the grain
1 tsp. fresh oregano chopped small
¼ cup of halved Kalamata olives-optional
4 - 6 oz. fresh feta*
2 pieces of whole grain bread from a boule, 1" slices
½ Cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ Cup of rich red wine vinegar like a Cabernet vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
A little bit of extra olive oil to brush on the bread
*Chef's note: I love French feta for its creamy texture and mild flavor but it is too soft to use here and will muck up the presentation of your salad.

1. Brush bread slices with olive oil and either grill it slightly or toast it in a low oven, 325º til crunchy but not hard.
2. Place the onion, tomato, cucumber, olives if you are using them and oregano in a mixing bowl.
3. Toss these ingredients gently.
4. When the bread is cooled tear or cut it into cubes or irregular bite sized pieces.
5. You can lay them in the bowl on top of the ingredients until ready to serve.
6. About 10 minutes before service pour the oil and vinegar over the ingredients and toss well. Everything should be coated with the dressing so don't be afraid to add a bit more of both items should the salad need it. You don't want a swamp but you do want a juicy but crunchy salad.
7. Taste for seasoning and add S & P accordingly.
8. Last crumble the feta or other cheese into the salad and toss again.

Keep it chilled until serving.


Oh and what wine would I serve with this? Lately my taste for rose has faded like my hydrangea blooms and something with a bit more substance beckons. I've tasted a few Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio blends that make for a more substantial food partner than the poolside staple Pinot Grigio. Ecco Domani 2005 is well balanced and reasonable.

Move up a peg to Cline Cellars 2004 Pinot-Grigio-Chardonnay, still under $15.

Gregory Anne Cox, a certified life coach, was one of the early female graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. and spent 20 years in the hospitality industry.
Currently Gregory offers teleseminars one on one and group coaching, and is an author and speaker on the topic of midlife women's mind and body tune ups. “There is no reason to suffer the midlife muffin top or ill health just because you reach midlife" she says. Her latest blog, contains all a woman needs to stay fit, health, sassy and sane.


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