Chicken Panzanella Salad

  • Yield 4-6 servings

Ingredients

Salad:
1/2 medium red onion
1 -- rotisserie chicken
1/2 loaf peasant bread (ciabatta, country loaf, any of those would be fine), cut into 1 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes *
1 pound fresh mozzarella **
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Dressing:
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 -- c good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 -- c chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
-- Salt and pepper to taste
Several whole basil leaves and orange and/or lemon wedges for garnish.
*Preferably an assortment of heirloom tomatoes for better flavor and color
-- ** I like to use the small mozzarella balls and cut them in half for a pretty presentation

Instructions

Build Salad:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Peel and slice the red onion very thinly. Place it in a container big enough to cover with cold water, then cover and put in the refrigerator. This takes some of the "bite" out of the onion.
Pull the meat from the chicken and cut or tear into bite size pieces. Discard the skin and bones (or save the bones to make stock!) (and to be honest I eat the skin).
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and spread out on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place in the oven until very lightly toasted, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Cut the tomatoes into app 1 inch chunks. Cut the mozzarella into app 1 inch chunks.

Now make the dressing – simply whisk together all of the ingredients, check the salt and pepper level and adjust accordingly.
Drain the water off of the onions and pat them dry. Toss the salad ingredients together, and then gently toss with the dressing.
Place the salad in a large bowl, top with basil leaves and citrus wedges, and serve!

serves 4-6

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