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Feeling peachy with Panzanella

RICHMOND, Va. – Chef Ben Burakoff made his debut in our Virginia This Morning kitchen to share his recipe for a vegetarian-friendly Panzenella made with sweet, juicy peaches, Basil and Cilantro. Ben will take part in the 2017 Richmond Vegetarian Festival scheduled for

Saturday, June 24th from Noon to 6pm at Azalea Gardens in Bryan Park.  For more information on the festival please visit https://www.veggiefest.org/

Panzanella with Peaches, Basil, and Cilantro (serves 2 people as a main meal or 4 people as a side)

14 3/4″ cubes of bread
1 peach, cut in 1″ pieces
1 small-medium tomato, cut it 1″ pieces
5 scallions sliced thinly
1 big handful of basil leaves, torn
1 big handful of cilantro with stems, cut in 1″ lengths
1 handful of blueberries
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of thinly sliced preserved lemon (recipe here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/morrocan-preserved-lemons/)
1 big pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Toast the cubes bread in the olive oil on medium heat. Add the scallions to the same pan and season with salt.
While the bread is toasting, in a large bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients, season the tomatoes so they start to give up their water.
Turn the cubes of bread over when they are nicely browned on the first side, which should take about 5 minutes. Brown the other side for 2 minutes. Once the two sides are nicely browned turn off the heat and, using a microplane, grate one clove of garlic onto the bread and toss to distribute evenly.
Toss the bread and scallions in the bowl with the tomatoes and add the peaches, blueberries, torn basil, cut cilantro, preserved lemon, and chili flake. Toss everything together and season with salt. If the salad appears too dry you can add a splash of water.
Panzanella is a very versatile recipe. You can sub out any of the ingredients that you can’t find or don’t like and sub in ones that you have around or prefer. The main thing is to toast the bread and dress with fresh and fragrant ingredients.