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Asparagus Panzanella with Parmesan, White Beans and Herbs

4 Servings

45 minutes

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Classic Italian panzanella is a salad that combines stale bread with ripe summer vegetables and an oil and vinegar dressing. With the bread as a sort of blank canvas, the dish lends itself to various ingredient combinations, including this mix of oven-toasted croutons with asparagus, white beans, herbs and lemon juice. We also use umami-rich Parmesan two ways. First, as grated cheese added to the bread midway through toasting to give the croutons crisp, lacy, golden-brown goodness. Then, shaved Parmesan is added just before serving, lending salty, savory intensity to contrast the sweet asparagus. So the beans are tasty throughout, we microwave them with seasonings; they absorb flavor as they cool. This salad is substantial enough to be a light main course, or it can be a side to roasted or grilled chicken.




Don’t cut the bread into neat, tidy cubes. We suggest slicing the bread with a knife, then tearing the slices by hand into rough, craggy pieces that are a bit smaller than bite size. This creates rustic croutons that add more texture and visual appeal to the salad. Also, when sprinkling the grated Parmesan onto the partially toasted bread, don’t fret if some lands on the baking sheet. Those bits will toast into tasty cheesy wafers; be sure to scrape them up along with the croutons.

45 minutes


  • 1

    pound asparagus, trimmed and halved on the diagonal

  • 8

    ounces country-style bread, torn into small bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)


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