I wish I could say I was the genius behind springtime panzanella, but the credit goes to Chef Michael Chiarello and Well Fed for dreaming up this little bit of heaven. This dish is not going to win any awards for beauty, but the taste is absolutely terrific. I used to consider myself a pasta person, but after having this and panade, I think I’ve become a bread-soaked-in-something-delicious-and-fattening type of girl. Despite its green appearance, springtime panzanella isn’t exactly health food; yes, there are loads of peas and a bed of spring greens, but it’s the butter, cheese, and heavy cream that make those little croutons so unforgettable.
I cheated on this recipe in a number of ways, using half the amount of butter suggested, lazily using frozen peas instead of fresh, substituting more Pecorino romano for the Pecorino toscano, and skipping the olive oil in the dressing (a change suggested by Erin of Erin’s Kitchen) and yet this recipe was still unbelievably good. I recommend using the best day-old bread you can find and if you’re one of the few who still haven’t made Jim Lahey’s easy-as-can-be no-knead bread, now is the time to do it. A little bit crunchy, a little bit creamy and chewy, and a whole lot of delicious, springtime panzanella was a downright delight. Run, don’t walk, to Well Fed for the recipe.