asparagus panzanella with grilled lemon dressing

Panzanella is a bread salad and a perfect way to use up day-old bread. Traditionally the salad is supposed to sit for awhile, allowing the bread to soak up the liquid, but I prefer my bread cubes to have a little crunch left. If you prefer the bread softer, allow the salad to sit longer at room temperature before serving.

1 loaf country bread (boule or similar), cut into thick slices
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 lemon, cut in half
1 large bunch fresh baby arugula
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup feta cheese, or to taste

  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Drizzle both sides of bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Brush cut sides of lemon with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Place bread, asparagus, and lemon (cut sides down) on grill and cook until everything is lightly charred on both sides, removing each as it’s done and placing on a baking sheet until everything is finished.
  6. Once bread has cooled, cut slices into cubes and add to a large bowl. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to bowl. Add arugula and set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine mustard and juice from grilled lemons and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil until thickened and emulsified. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary. Add to bowl of bread and asparagus and gently toss to combine, coating everything well. Divide salad among serving bowls and top each with feta cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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