Rise 'n Shine

Summer brunches are a lovely thing to behold. A blend of traditional breakfast favorites, fresh lunch items and a healthy dose of the fruits and vegetables that are blessing tables everywhere this time of the year. One of my favorite brunch salads is a panzella, an Italian bread salad. This one features roasted asparagus and a wide range of vegetables that is sure to please.

While you can change the selection of vegetables in this salad, I really recommend using the combination suggested here at least once. It's a great blend of salty, sweet, savory and fresh. The addition of olives and the brine from them in the dressing gives it a very sophisticated flavor. It's great alongside stratas and grilled meats, alike. Popovers or muffins play equally well. It's just a nice addition to your brunch spread.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus Panzella

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. hearty bread cubes -- about 1" cubed
  • 8 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 c. halved and sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced and chopped
  • 2 c. sliced green beans, steamed
  • 1 c. kalamata olives
  • 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 2/3 c. olive brine
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Toss the prepared asparagus and 2 tablespoons of olive oil together and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until tender and lightly browned. Allow to cool.

Toast the bread cubes until golden, but not brown. Place the bread cubes and asparagus into a large serving bowl. Add the remaining vegetables (tomatoes through olives).

Combine the garlic, olive brine, olive oil, salad and pepper in a small bottle and shake vigorously to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and bread and toss well to mix and coat evenly. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes