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Salad Days

Our columnist chooses hearty ingredients for a stew-like salad.

by Jean Hecker

If you’re like me, you just can’t wait for all of the summer produce to become available and for your favorite farm markets to open. Thank goodness that DAgostino’s on Main Road has a great variety of vegetables for me to make my favorite salads and vegetable stews.

My favorite winter pasta dish is butternut squash and fresh sage, which helps me to create a meatless meal that is so satisfying all it needs is a couple of tablespoons of butter and a handful of grated pecorino cheese sprinkled on top!

DAgostino’s also has a huge selection of gourmet items like all kinds of exotic spices and coffees and just about every fresh herb you could want. I never leave there disappointed.

Every Saturday I spend the afternoons watching the cooking shows on Channel 12. The shows are not always in line with the season, which is okay because it gives me great ideas on what to make for a change. Here is a fabulous little salad that the family will love. Pair it with meat or a pasta dish, or just serve alone as a great luncheon meal.

Roasted Red Pepper, Cherry Tomato, and Mozzarella Panzanella Salad
2 red peppers cored and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1 inch pieces
1 loaf of ciabatta or French baguette cut into 2 inch pieces
About 10 fresh basil leaves torn in pieces

Use your favorite vinaigrette recipe.

Roast the tomatoes and peppers for about 10 minutes in a preheated 450’f oven. Let them cool cometely in a large salad bowl, add mozzarella cheese, mix well with dressing, then toss in bread and basil, mix until just combined. Serve at room temperature.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought