Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ploughman's Panzanella

I'm a grazer.  I like to snack.  Often and alot.  One might consider some of my "snacks" actual meals.  And sometimes I just take my snacks to a meal-like level.  

When the weather gets warmer, my favorite lunch consists of fruit, cheese, and bread or pretzels or crackers.  Sometimes the "or" between those carbs turns into "and".  Lunchtime can get wild like that.  Holding my child in a standing position like this forever can sometimes warrant both pretzels and crackers.  No joke.
Ruffle Butt!

She frequently loses her balance.  She must have gotten that from the King because her mother is nothing but the picture of grace and beauty.  And then she topples over.  It gives me a heart attack every time.  Every. Single. Time.  On top of the falling over, I also have to control my hysteria so that the Princess will stay cool too?  I'm pretty sure staying calm requires carbs.  Lots of them.  

When I opened the fridge today for lunch, ravenous as usual, I saw a bunch of grape sized tomatoes hanging out in there.  Since, the best way to serve them is roasted, I turned to my favorite food blog for this recipe:  Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad and was struck with inspiration.

Since the only bread I had leftover was beer bread, I decided to make it into a "Ploughman's Lunch" of sorts...something I had witnessed Ina Garten prepare once.  A typical Ploughman's Lunch usually has beer, bread, and cheese.  Sometimes they can have ham...in my case bacon and roasted tomatoes.  I got a little wild and also added spinach.  Thereby, HEALTHY!
 Need I say more with beer bread croutons?  

Ploughman's Panzanella

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • Day old beer bread (if there is such a thing), recipe here
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked to your liking
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (cubed would be delish too)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
  2. Put grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  
  3. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes.  Give the pan a shake about halfway through.
  4. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  5. Cut the beer bread into cubes and toss it around in your hot butter.  Allow the beer bread to cook 5-10 minutes, until brown and crisp, tossing every couple minutes.  Remove from heat.  
  6. Place a couple handfuls of spinach in with your hot beer bread croutons and allow to wilt slightly.  
  7. Put the beer bread croutons and spinach in a serving dish and top with roasted tomatoes, cheedar, and crumbled bacon.
  8. Allow the tomatoes to cool a little and then go to town.  
Try a bite.  Seriously.  Yum.


  1. This sounds delicious but I'm stuck on the day old beer bread thing....how does one create such an item?

  2. Came back over here to tell ya - thoughts this morning at 6:45 am while packing grape tomatoes for my lunch "Crouton Queen (although in my head I used your real name) IS right - these are way better roasted". So I'm not going to work until they are roasted to my liking.

    1. So delicious. It's a grape tomato party in your mouth! And day old beer bread goes a little like this...promise it to your husband for dinner the next night, buuuut then become inspired, dice it up and make croutons for your lunch instead. Oops!

  3. Since tomatoes are nasty....sometimes just roasting the original is awesome! (AKA - grapes!) Especially over a sweet potato...with goat cheese...and now I am drooling.

    Is Panzanella a fancy word for crouton? So in Europe you would be the Panzanella Queen?