precious panzanella

Last night, the heel of the peasant boule proved too stale for spreading with homemade butter, so I crisped a few slices of bacon, then a few slices of bread in a pan, setting them aside to cool with a beautiful heirloom tomato, a shallot, and a baby leek.

ingredients for panzanella

Panzanella, the cheerful name for an Italian leftover bread salad, sounds like the deliberate toss of ingredients at the height of summer, and with this year’s tomato blight, the dish is especially dear.


I tore the bread in pieces, cut an equal amount of very ripe tomato in similar sizes, minced a tablespoon of shallot, salted liberally (this draws the juice from the tomato) and left the flavors to marry in a bowl for half an hour. With a brisk stir, I added in the crumbled bacon and scissored baby leek on top, squeezing in a little lemon.

The transformed bread pillows taste of tomato and rounded shallot, pair well with an icy glass of Sancerre, and make for a meal that quietly rejoices in these flavors. (If you find a lemon cucumber at market, that’s a lovely addition.)

On Saturday, Evolutionary Organics at the Prospect Park Farmers’ Market had a table full of tomatoes in darker hues,

Evolutionary Organics heirloom tomatoes

and another stand featured green gauge plums,

green gauge plums (first time I've seen these)

still another speckled squash,

squash (love the speckled ones)

and just outside the market, the Treats Truck (@thetreatstruck on Twitter) held wonderful Mexican chocolate brownies—this is a truck to seek out—that preceded a sweeter wafel with spekuloos,

great design on @thetreatstruck (note the mixer on the passenger door)

as I explained to the Waffle Truck that the flowers in my market bag were for my talented work colleague Fil,

Flowers for Fil

who was Golden Girl Dorothy that night in the Brooklyn Columbia Waterfront district. Here’s the first part of the pilot episode (the rest of the performance starts here):

And that preceded Calexico’s pork belly torta (waving is my boss Andrew, who is eating with his wife Jenni and baby Emilia, who was an excellent audience member and as in awe of Fil as we were)

and a Sunday of adventures that included dim sum, gastropods I couldn’t identify, a bit of drama at the Tenement Museum, long stretches of walking with a wonderful conversationalist, applied knowledge of appliances, and salted caramel ice cream in Fort Greene…

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