Chef Joseph Stayshich’s Panzanella Salad is a delighting diners at Benjy’s in Rice Village during Houston Restaurant Weeks. The dish, casually known as bread salad, includes chunks of pumpernickel bread, cucumbers, tomatoes and red wine vinaigrette. Chef’s secret is to let the panzanella ingredients marinate for a bit so the flavors combine, but he does not marinate it for too long, because the croutons will become soggy. Some other dishes on his Houston Restaurant Weeks menus include warm pistachio-crusted goat cheese cakes with NY bagel crisps; house made gnocchi with oven dried tomatoes, summer squash, ricotta cheese and saba and Mom’s chocolate cake.
Houston Restaurant Weeks, an charitable event founded by food radio talk show host Cleverley Stone, takes place from August 1 through August 31, 2012. Benjy’s in Rice Village will donate $3 from each Houston Restaurant Weeks lunch and $5 from each Houston Restaurant Weeks dinner sold to the Houston Food Bank. Diners can make a $10 donation to the Houston Food Bank by texting HRW to 20222. (Message & data rates may apply and all purchases must be authorized by the account holder. For more details, visit http://www.houstonrestaurantweeks.com/ .)
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston,
listen to Cleverley’s radio show Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM.
(By the way, she gives out restaurant gift cards on every radio show!)
Pumpernickel Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Preserved Lemon Yogurt (Makes four 8 oz portions)
Chef Joseph Stayshich, Benjy’s in The Village
Panzanella (salad) Ingredients
- 1 1/2 lbs large tomatoes
- 3/4 lb large seedless cucumber
- 1 oz dill
- 1 oz parsley
- 5 slices pumpernickel bread for croutons (baked until crisp and broken into rough chunks)
- 4 oz red wine vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Red Wine Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 3 oz red wine vinegar
- 8 oz extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoon chopped oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of pepper
1. Mix all ingredients together. Stir well before each use as the oil will separate from the vinegar.
2. Make sure to stir dressing well until ingredients are emulsified.
3. The secret is to let the panzanella ingredients marinate for a bit so the flavors combine.
Do not marinate for too long however, as the croutons will become soggy.
Preserved Lemon Yogurt Ingredients
- 1 cup Lebne Yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
- 4 Tablespoons preserved lemon peels, finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1. Mix all ingredients together, salt to taste
This dish pairs well with grilled salmon.
Cook salmon however you like, however I feel that grilling is the best for this dish,
but sautéing or broiling will be nice as well.
To serve: Place panzanella in shallow bowl with salmon on top.
Finish the dish with a dollop of the preserved lemon yogurt and a sprig of dill.
You can find Lebne Yogurt and preserved lemons at Phoenicia Market in Houston.
I use Slow Dough Baking pumpernickel.
Use locally grown produce whenever possible.