I recently read a post praising the flavor combination of peaches, balsamic and basil. You already know I like to mess around in the kitchen with different flavors and textures, rethinking old recipes. In most kitchens, panzanella is bread salad with tomatoes, garlic and basil. Inspired by that post, not straying too far from tradition, ours was toasted foccacia cubes marinated in balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette [see below], sliced ripe yellow peaches and torn sweet and Thai basil from our patio garden, served on a bed of spinach leaves.
It was a beautiful creation, and equally as fresh and delicious.
Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette [makes about 1 1/4 c]
1 garlic clove
1 T Dijon mustard
3 T balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 c best-quality olive oil
Cut the garlic cloves into halves and rub the cut sides over the inner surface of a small bowl. Reserve the garlic.
Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in the garlic-rubbed bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Dribble in the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is creamy, thickened and all the oil has been incorporated.
Taste and correct the seasoning. Add the reserved pieces of garlic; cover the bowl and let the dressing stand at room temperature until you need it. Remove the garlic and rewhisk the dressing if necessary before using.