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Summer Favorites: Summer Panzanella Salad 2 Ways and Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes from Fine Cooking

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Top to Bottom:  Panzanella Salad, Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes
Panzanella Salad with Tuna
         Sometimes I am astonished at what’s not on Chewing the Fat.  Just when I start to worry that I’ll never find a recipe that I haven’t already tried, I discover amazing gaps in our collection.  Take these two recipes, which I have been making for a whole lot longer than I’ve been blogging.  The first is an Italian classic.  Just as the season’s tomatoes can’t get any sweeter and riper, I love to make this easy offering of garlick-y toasted peasant bread, red onions, olive oil, vinegar and basil.  The salad has its origins in Tuscany and is a specialty of Firenze.  It’s one of those gifts of ingenuity to la cucina from the poor for whom every scrap of bread was put to use.  Almost every Italian cookbook has a recipe for this salad and you can find plenty of recipes far more complex than the one I share here.  My old and dearly remembered friend, Marcella Hazan, made hers with capers, bell pepper, anchovy filets, and cucumbers added to the tomatoes and red onions.  Today, I bring you the most basic of all Panzanella  recipes.  And thanks to Bebe Caggiano, the Italian-American food writer and chef, the next day you can lunch on the leftovers by adding  canned tuna and fresh basil to last night’s salad.  The crunch is gone but replacing it are intensely flavored ‘croutons’ and marinated tomatoes.  It’s so simple!

Less than a mile from our house…
Long Island Potatoes!

The second item that I was staggered to see that I had never blogged about is Smashed Potatoes.  First of all, Long Island and potatoes are like bread and butter.  Every day I pass acres and acres of them growing around here.  I’m particularly partial to the baby reds that are the first to appear at the farm stand.  And they are ideal for this recipe.  I don’t even remember when I was introduced to Smashed potatoes but it was love at first bite.  I’ve made them all kinds of ways: Sometimes fried on the stovetop in gobs of butter or even better, duck fat.  But then I read about a roasting technique in Fine Cooking magazine.   This of course is likely far healthier than fat frying your potatoes.  That being said, Fine Cooking then suggested topping the potatoes with sour cream and chives, which pretty much takes the sanctimonious behavior of oven roasting off the table.  And I discovered that the olive oil Fine Cooking recommended could be swapped out for melted duck fat.  These are heaven.  And the next best thing to a great French fry.  Maybe even better. Here are the recipes:


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