Spring always seems to bring surprises: a surprisingly warm day, a shockingly blue sky, a sudden and unexpected torrential downpour. Or, the unforeseen dilemma of your over-sized child who is not even two learning to climb out of his crib. Repeatedly. Until about midnight.
Which resulted in the dreaded switch: crib to big boy bed.
We made a family Ikea trip on Saturday afternoon, which was uncharacteristically empty due to the beautiful weather. When we got home James and I headed to the park while Lane assembled the Gulliver, Vyssa, and Smila (love those Swedish names).
By the time we returned from our park trip, Lane had disassembled baby crib and put the big boy bed together. It was late and we were hungry.
Luckily, this panzanella was super easy to throw together. When we finally got around to eating it, however, it was after eight and dark outside, so the pictures are not so great. But trust me on the taste: springy, flavorful, and satisfying.
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp good dijon mustard (I use Annie's organic)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
For the salad:
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 thinly sliced radishes
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed and steamed until barely tender, but still very crisp
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/2 cup olives (I used black, Kalamata would also be delish)
For the croutons:
4 cups leftover artisan bread, cut into bite sized cubes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 smashed garlic cloves
sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
Combine vinaigrette ingredients, whisking well. Mix in the radishes and red onions so that they are submerged in the vinaigrette. Allow to sit for an hour or so.
Take one smashed garlic clove and smear it over a baking sheet. Discard the clove.
To make the croutons, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add two of the smashed garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Add the bread cubes and 2 tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat the bread. Sprinkle with a little salt. Discard the garlic cloves and spread bread cubes over prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with asiago cheese. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (this a complete guess, I forgot to write down the baking time and temp!), or until cheese is melted and bread cubes are browned. Allow to cool before adding to salad.
Combine the steamed asparagus, olives, and artichoke hearts in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette and pickled onions and radishes. Toss well. Add bread cubes just before serving and toss again. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Enjoy.