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Tuscan Salad with Asparagus (Spring Panzanella)

tuscan salad in bowl with tongs

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Tuscan salad or spring panzanella will be your new favorite salad to use up those leftover spring vegetables! This recipe involves three steps, preparing the bread, blanching the asparagus, and then mixing everything together!

Ingredients

Scale

8 ounces French Bread (about 1/2 to 3/4 loaf), cubed 1" pieces

1 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut into 3" pieces

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 shallot, thinly sliced (or finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Pinch of salt

1 bunch red radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 medium cucumber (I used English), halved and thinly sliced

1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped

4 cups leafy salad greens, optional

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside.*

While the bread is toasting, prepare an ice bath in a bowl or colander for blanching the asparagus. Bring a medium pot of water to boiling and cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes or until slightly soft. Using a pair of cooking tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath and run with cool water. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, chives, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the bread, asparagus, remaining vegetables (salad greens optional), dill, and cheese. Make sure the bread soaks up the dressing. Plate the salad and serve with your favorite protein, such as hard boiled eggs, chicken, salmon, or white beans, or use as a side to your favorite main dish.

Notes

*this recipe toasts fresh bread to oven-dry it for this Panzanella salad; stale bread (at least 1-2 days old) can also be used and does not require baking to oven-dry, this step can be skipped.

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