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Breakfast Panzanella

Breakfast Panzanella

I happen to love Panzanella (zesty bread salad).  Usually, it is a staple in my house through the warm summer months, as it goes with just about anything you can think to grill up, and you don’t have to worry about it turning in the sun, as you would a mayonnaise based salad.

Bread is my weakness, especially crusty, rustic bread.  So I was curious to see what else I could do with the concept of a bread salad, and make it applicable to any season.  I began experimenting with a Breakfast Panzanella…think of this as a breakfast parfait, only instead of granola; you use toasted bread that has been coated in delicious syrup.  I add cognac because it gives a deeper layer of flavor to the syrup, but you can omit this step if you like.

This is the perfect breakfast to begin Easter morning. Whip it up in a matter of minutes, and enjoy it while the kids are digging into their Easter baskets.  It is also a great dessert, if you substitute fresh whipped cream or gelato for the yogurt.

Want to see how it is prepared?  Watch the new video…you will find it under spring and Holiday shows.

I wish you all a very happy Easter!  And I thank you for allowing me to share my passion for food and family with you!

Breakfast Panzanella

For the Bread

  • One loaf rustic bread such as Ciabatta

  • 3 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)

  • ½ Cup brown sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • ¾ Cup orange juice

  • ½ Teaspoon salt

  • 3 Tablespoons brandy

For the Fruit

  • 1 Tablespoon fig balsamic vinegar

  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 Cups sliced fresh strawberries

  • 1 Cup sliced bananas

  • 1 Pint Blueberries

  • 1 Pint Blackberries

  • Yogurt

To Prepare the Bread:

Cut and cube an entire loaf of Ciabatta bread and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Place the bread in a 375 degree oven for 15 -20 minutes until the bread becomes golden and crisp.  Turn the bread cubes once during the cooking process.

Remove from the oven and let the bread cubes cool.

The Elegant Occasion Note:  You can make the bread up to this point, 24 hours in advance and store in an airtight bag or container.

To Assemble the Fruit

Toss the strawberries in a large bowl with the fig balsamic and lemon juice.

Let the berries macerate for 10 minutes.  While the strawberries macerate, make the syrup.

To Prepare the Syrup for the Bread

Melt butter and sugar in small saucepan.

Add the lemon juice, orange juice, salt and brandy.

Let the mixture cook until the sugar has melted.

Toss the cooled bread cubes into the syrup and stir to coat evenly.

Once the bread cubes are coated, immediately remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl (it is imperative to use a slotted spoon, so the bread does not become soggy by sitting in the syrup too long).  Reserve the syrup left in the pan for later in the recipe.

To Finish the Breakfast Panzanella

Slice a banana and add it to the strawberries, along with the blueberries and blackberries.

Add in the reserved syrup and give all the fruit a good toss.

Spoon some fruit into each parfait glass or bowl and then top with some of the bread cubes.

Top the bread cubes with the yogurt of your choice (I use non-fat Greek yogurt).

Repeat the steps until the parfaits are complete.

The Elegant Occasion Note:  This dish is best eaten immediately upon preparing it, so the bread retains its crispness.

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