Leanne Brown's spicy panzanella salad recipe

- This recipe for spicy panzanella salad comes courtesy of Leanne Brown from her book "Good and Cheap. To learn more and get your own PDF recipes, visit www.leannebrown.com.

2 small field cucumbers or 1 English cucumber 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
salt and pepper, to taste 
4 slices day-old bread

Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a few drops for the pan 
1 jalapeño, finely chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped tomato 
salt and pepper, to taste 
juice of 1 lime

Additions
Chopped fresh herbs 
Chopped peaches
Nectarines or plums finely chopped
Red onion
Chopped zucchini or summer squash
Pitted olives
Grapes

DIRECTIONS
1. If you're using field cucumbers (usually cheaper than English) peel them to remove the tough skin. (A little leftover peel is not a problem.) For English cucumbers, there's no need to peel.
2. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the chopped tomatoes to use in the dressing, but throw the rest of the tomatoes and all of the cucumbers into a large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; the salt helps draw out the juices. Toss the vegetables and set aside. 
3. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add a few drops of olive oil. Add the jalapeño and sauté until it sizzles and smells good, about a minute, then add the rest of the chopped tomato and a tablespoon of water. Cook until the tomato juices release, another 2 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. 
4. Once the water has evaporated, turn off the heat and dump the jalapeño-tomato mixture on your cutting board. Chop it up very finely, then throw it back into the pan-with the heat off-with the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to combine, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. You've got dressing! 
5. Chop or tear the bread into bite-size pieces, then toast it in a skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the bread chunks are toasty on all sides. Alternatively, just toast full slices of bread in a toaster and tear them up afterward, or skip the toasting if the bread is already super-hard. 
6. Add the bread and dressing to the vegetables and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper once more. Let the salad sit for a few minutes so that the bread can soak up the juices, then serve! 


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