Hatch Chile Summer Panzanella
Hatch chile season is here and if you're a Texas foodie, you may be stocking up on all the hatch chile items you can get your hands on at Central Market's Hatch Fest! Every year without fail I stock up on the roasted mild hatch chilies as well as countless other fun hatch products they have in stock for the festival. I usually have my go-to recipes like hatch chile fajitas, but this year I was inspired to spice up one of my favorite go-to salads: the panzanella. Panzanella is a delicious Tuscan style bread salad that can be super versatile, is super easy to make and always delicious! This Hatch Chile Summer Panzanella is a great balance between spicy hatch peppers and refreshing cucumber and tomatoes tossed with savory croutons in a dijon vinaigrette. I hope you enjoy it!
For the salad-serves 4 sides:
3-4 thick slices of 1 day old sourdough or country loaf cut into 1 inch cubes (I use Central Market's Hatch chile loaf)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 hatch chiles, small diced with seeds
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 english cucumber, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch crescents
Pinch of flaky sea salt for garnish (I use Maldon)
For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup EVOO
1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp honey
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Slice bread into 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes on a baking sheet. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat the croutons. Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden brown, but still slightly soft in the middle.
In the meantime, dice your hatch chiles, tomatoes and cucumber and add to a medium sized bowl.
While the baked croutons cool, make the vinaigrette. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients and whisk vigorously.
Add the croutons to the vegetables and toss lightly. Add about 2/3 of the vinaigrette and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust with additional vinaigrette if preferred. Let the salad sit for 10-30 minutes before serving. This allows the croutons to soak up all that great vinaigrette flavor!
Add a pinch of flaky sea salt before serving and enjoy!