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Baked Panzanella Caprese

tf baked panzanella caprese 5

This is a recipe I got from Giada. As in “Giada de Laurentis,” from “Giada’s Everyday Italian” on Food Network. As much as I love cooking, I have to admit that I love lying on the couch watching other people cook even more. What do you think that’s all about? I’ll tell you what I think. I think it’s watching with the knowledge that behind all that cooking, there’s a crew just waiting to clean and tidy up for the cook. That’s pretty intoxicating. I can watch that all day long.

So Giada tells us she’s making Baked Panzanella Caprese. I know enough about those three words to know that I’m probably going to love this dish. And I do … sort of. The thing is, I didn’t like it at first, but I liked it more every time I went into the kitchen to dish up another serving. And I did that A LOT. I couldn’t leave it alone. So although my first reaction was, “Meh,” I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I ended up loving this in the long run. And pretty much finishing it (with help from Tera).

By the way, I used 3 cloves of garlic instead of the recommended 2, but that’s because I’m a little bit more Italian than Giada.

Giada’s Baked Panzanella Caprese

  • Butter, for greasing baking sheet
  • 2 very big tomatoes or 5 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • a few shakes of balsamic vinegar
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices and patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a couple of handfuls of fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • several slices Italian bread

In a small baking dish (not a 9 x 11), layer the sliced tomatoes.

Take the mozzarella balls …

… and slice into enough pieces to cover the tomatoes.

Cover with chopped basil and minced garlic.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Trader Joe’s mozzarella, Trader Joe’s balsamic vinegar, Trader Joe’s bread, basil and tomatoes … are you sensing a pattern here?

Top with bread, breaking to fit all gaps, and drizzle with more olive oil.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes @ 375.

While the dish is baking, look around. Did you leave any random pieces of bread when you were doing all that breaking and gap-filling? Any stray bits of basil lying around? I think you know what to do.

Here’s how it looks just out of the oven:

And here’s how it looks when it’s been cut, flipped over (so the bread is on the bottom), and it’s heading toward your mouth:

All in all, this is a nice little appetizer. I miiiiight cut the bread in bite-sized pieces first next time. But then again, I might leave it just as it is.

 

 

 

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3 Comments on "Baked Panzanella Caprese"

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Cora Welch
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That girl cooks up some yummy Italian dishes!! Can’t wait to come over and give that one a try 🙂

Anita Scheftner
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Mmmm. I should try T j’s balsamic….I will try this for my Italian son in law..:)

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