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Recipe: Tomato and Tomatillo Panzanella

Rural Intelligence Community
Berkshire native Alana Chernila, local politician, mother of two, and author of the new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Following fast on the heels of local corn, tomatoes have arrived. Here’s Alana’s twist on classic bread and tomato salad, which also makes use of the oft-overlooked tomatillo.

And don’t forget Alana’s two public events this weekend. On Friday evening, August 3, she’s one of many local authors participating in the 16th Annual Booksigning at the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon. On Saturday, August 4, from 10 a.m. to noon, she’ll be doing a sauerkraut demonstration at the Pawling Farmers Market.

Tomatillos suffer from people not being quite sure what to do with them. They are an obvious salsa ingredient, but beyond that, what to do with tomatillos? Honestly, sliced thin in combination with big wedges of tomato - better than a Snickers from the freezer.

We had half of a leftover ciabatta, and I decided to make a panzanella. This is a great full-meal salad, and a good way to use day-old bread and excess produce in danger of going uneaten. I’m going to give you a rough guideline of a recipe, as this one can be played with as much as you like.

Tomato and Tomatillo Panzanella

5 tomatillos, peeled of paper skins and sliced thin

Rural Intelligence Community 1 large tomato, cut into wedges

1/2 loaf rustic bread, cut into bite-sized cubes

10 green beans

1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into matchsticks

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Red wine vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Dijon mustard

A couple handfuls of lettuce, washed and dried

In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread and green beans and sauté  for a few minutes, stirring so as not to burn the bread. When the bread is golden, turn off the heat.
While the bread is cooling, make the vinaigrette. Dissolve some sea salt into a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, then add about half as much balsamic. Whisk in a few tablespoons of olive oil and the mustard. Taste it and adjust until you find the taste that you like.

In a large bowl, toss the fried bread, tomatoes, pepper, and green beans with the vinaigrette, tasting as you go to get the dressing saturation to your liking. 
Lay out the lettuce on a platter. Pile the contents of the bowl over the lettuce and top with salt and freshly ground pepper. —  Reprinted with permission from [1]. All text and photos copyright 2008-13 by Alana Chernila.

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Posted by Samara DiMouro on 07/31/12 at 09:47 AM • Permalink