This story – The Orphan – seems to be about the struggles and hardships of wildlife. But it also provides a message to a young woman about options in her own life to overcome the same struggles and hardships.

The woman in this story makes a Panzanella salad, which is one of my top summer salads! It can only be made when fresh tomatoes and basil are in season. I make this for myself and my family every summer. It also lends itself to alterations based on your taste. You can add grilled shrimp or chicken, add additional vegetables such as grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, or eggplant, and top with shavings of parmesan cheese, ricotta salata, feta, or blue cheese crumbles. My husband and I always have a friendly negotiation on the crouton size. Whether you like small, torn bread or large, square croutons, both are equally delicious.

I demonstrated how to make Panzanella at one of my Napa Farmers Market chef demonstrations because it is the quintessential salad made from ingredients available at your local farmers market. It is usually served as a main course salad but can easily be a side dish or taken to a picnic. In Italy, the croutons soak in the tomato juice to soften because the croutons are made with stale bread. Either method produces a truly delicious bite of summer.


Read the story The Orphan!
Watch the video about how to make Panzanella Salad!
Read my blog about how to make Panzanella Salad!

Sandra Richardson