Andrew Barton is self taught home cook/supper club chef, originally from Eugene, OR and currently teaching preschool in Portland. His favorite thing to eat right now are hearty, texture focused salads (like the one below), featuring the best seasonal produce prepared in interesting ways.
He has been hosting the supper club, Secret Restaurant Portland, collaboratively since 2010 and over the last 2 years, working with Secret Restaurant teammates Peter and Kate Schweitzer on their upcoming cookbook Myrtlewood. He will be our newest contributor to our blog, previewing recipes from Myrtlewood here, like the one below.
Want to know more about Myrtlewood? There is one week left on Myrtlewood's Kickstarter campaign - to self-publish the first edition of this beautiful cookbook. Watch the video, read all about it, see some previews, pre-order a book, and tell your friends. There is still a ways to go – help from conscious food consumers and cooks like you, dear reader, is the only way they'll get there.
The classic Italian summer dish. A transcendent meal can be made from a little high summer produce and some old bread.
I made a large batch of rolls for a big lunch that didn't work and had to be replaced with bakery rolls. They were just too crusty, too chewy. I'd taken the Tartine bread recipe and tried to make rolls the same way. Doesn't work! Tartine bread is all about force within the loaf, the gasses expanding, the blistering, charred crust. Well, it was a happy accident because the rolls were the best bread for panzanella imaginable. The flavor was complex, the crumb delectable. I sliced and tore the rolls up into bite sized pieces, made my first batch of panzanella, and froze the rest in a large freezer bag. Each time I wanted more, I'd revive just the quantity I wanted to use wrapped in foil in the oven. I made maybe 6 large bowls of panzanella from mid-August to mid-September using these roll bits again and again.
- fresh, ripe tomatoes (several kinds if you can buy or grow them - large or small. Apx 7-12)
- cucumber(s, if little)
- the best damn stale bread you can get* (2 or 3 handfuls of cruton-esque pieces)
- very small (or half a medium) fresh sweet onion
- garlic, 4 or so cloves
- white wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- red wine (already open, just for cooking or what you are drinking that night)
- pickled green peppercorns (secret, important ingredient here - available at Pastaworks, you can also substitute capers here)
- fresh mozzarella
- basil or parsley or celery leaves or whatever strong leafy herb
Dice the onion finely and place it in a non-reactive bowl (a glass pyrex mixing bowl is perfect). Peel and chop the garlic, mincing and adding it. Pour enough white wine vinegar to soak the onion and garlic. Add lemon juice till they are almost submerged. Add olive oil to really bury them. Salt generously. Let this hang out for at least an hour, seriously. You can get away with half and hour but an hour is better. This is the technique that gives this panzanella it's brightness, it's zing.
If you are cooking other food, work on it now; or take a walk, or read a chapter of your book. Wash, de-stem, and sliced the tomatoes. If using an english cucumber, no need to fuss over it. A regular one; peel a couple lines down the outer skin and scoop out the seeds before cutting. Little lemon cucumbers? Wash the prickles off, but no need to de-seed.
Smash/chop about one teaspoon of pickled green peppercorns. Add them with the tomatoes and the cucumbers to the onion, garlic, acids, and olive oil.
After 10 minutes or so for these things to become acquainted (and white you grate the parmesan, tear the mozzerella, tear the basil), add the bread pieces. Toss aggressively, splashing in red wine as you go. Try to get the wine to hit half the bread pieces. Toss in the parmesan, the mozz, and the basil/other leafy herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, taste, add more wine, wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, or black pepper to taste.