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Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
Recipe courtesy Chef Victoria Blumenstein
Serves 8-12 as a side salad

This recipe was a Taste of Sonoma Perfect Pairing with Michel-Schlumberger's Pinot Blanc.

1 lb                good quality rustic bread, like Costeaux Ciabatta, cut into thick rounds
1 cup              olive oil
                      Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 lbs               assorted heirloom tomatoes
2 cloves          garlic
2                    anchovies, white if you can get them
1 Tbsp            capers
¼ cup             VIVO Red Wine Vinegar or other good quality red wine vinegar
1 med             red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups            cannellini beans, cooked and cooled (about 1¼ cups dried beans)
1 cup              basil leaves, whole if small, torn if large
2 cups            wild arugula, stems trimmed
¼ cup             parmesan curls* (optional)

Preheat a grill to high. Brush bread slices on one side using about ¼ cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the bread on both sides until the crust is crisp but the center is still soft. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, tear into bite sized pieces.

Dice the tomatoes into bite size ¾-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to lightly coat. Set aside for 15 minutes to pull the juices out of the tomatoes.

Mash the garlic, anchovy and capers with a mortar and pestle. Drizzle with olive oil and mash again to combine.

Add the olive oil mixture and the vinegar to the tomatoes and gently combine.

Add the red onions, cannellini beans, basil and arugula. Drizzle in about ¼cup of the olive oil to make a fairly “saucey” tomato mixture. 

10 minutes before serving add the bread to the salad and combine thoroughly. The bread will soak up a good deal of the tomato liquid. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*If pairing with a red wine like Michel-Schlumberger's Syrah, top the salad with parmesan curls to tame the acidity of the salad.

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