summer peach panzanella

Twenty-six years old today - another trip around the sun complete! And that's pretty fitting as today also marks the solar eclipse. Also fitting for today is finally posting - on its one year anniversary - my recipe for summer peach panzanella. I made this up on a bit of a whim for my birthday party last year, and have been meaning to write it down pretty much every day since then. So, at long last, my favorite summertime salad! 

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots
summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

So much has changed since my last birthday. I've seen a best friend get married, said see ya later to a handful of dear friends as they started new chapters in their life, and made new friends along the way. Matt and I discovered a deep love for Carmel (and reaffirmed our love of burritos in San Francisco), explored Minneapolis by bike and discovered new corners (and restaurants!) of DC. There's been an election that has caused more than its fair share of turmoil, and as such, I've never participated in more marches, sent more letters, or made more calls to Congress.

I've totally - and officially - taken a deep dive into the world of food too. I've launched this very blog, become much more involved in efforts to support women in food thanks to Pineapple DC, and become completely enthralled with my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA. All of these have had such a massive impact on the way I eat, cook and think about food. And as a result of that deep down passion, I'm about to start a new chapter professionally, so there's no doubt my 26th year will be filled with much more learning, food, new friends and mentors. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

But, if there's at least any proof of the saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same," this recipe can be it. I've been making a variation of it since last year and it never disappoints. The blend of juicy peaches with creamy, rich poppy seed dressing alone is perfect, but pairing it with red onion and goat cheese is just out of this world. I promise this isn't a sponsored post, but Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed dressing is the only one I'll spend money on. For any other salad, I'll make my own balsamic but this one is worth the $$$! 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

This recipe makes excellent use of a cast iron skillet too. First, you'll want to lightly toast bite-size chunks of bread. You can use fresh or day old bread here. In this case, I was using fresh bread that I had baked the previous day. And truly, any kind of bread will do. This was just a basic white bread, but I imagine sourdough would work wonderfully. Rye would also probably be pretty tasty with this flavor combination! After toasting the bread, then you'll cook the peaches in your skillet. They get browned in a mix of honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

From one year to the next, I wouldn't mind at all having it as a staple at each and every birthday dinner. Now...is it time for cake yet?

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots

Summer Peach Panzanella

serves 2

what you'll need:

1 thick slice of bread, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large handfuls arugula
1 peach, cut into large chunks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
heavy 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp honey
non-stick spray
small handful fresh basil leaves, julienned, optional
Brianna's Home Style Rich Poppy Seed dressing, to taste

what you'll do:

  1. In small bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour coated bread cubes onto cast iron skillet and toast until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes). Toss occasionally to brown all sides equally but be careful not to burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  2. While you let skillet cool for a few minutes, in a small bowl toss peach chunks with honey, remaining extra virgin olive oil (1/2 tbsp) and a pinch of kosher salt. Spray cast iron skillet with non-stick spray, then pour peaches onto skillet. Cook peaches over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss as they cook to ensure they don't burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  3. In large bowl, toss arugula with basil, red onion, goat cheese, toasted bread and peaches. Either mix poppy seed dressing directly into serving bowl or serve dressing separately.