Pea, Asparagus and Herb Panzanella

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Take a loaf of sourdough bread plus some garden-fresh vegetables and herbs, and you’ve got the makings for a delicious salad. This is our springtime spin on the classic Italian bread salad known as panzanella. We toast the bread to add crunch and allow it to better absorb the creamy dressing, which includes buttermilk for tangy flavor. Chunks of feta cheese lend salty goodness.

Ingredients:

For the herbed buttermilk dressing:

  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, basil and parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 12 oz. (375 g) sugar snap peas, trimmed, half thinly sliced on the diagonal and the rest halved crosswise
  • 10 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, stalks cut on the diagonal into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
  • 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) fresh or thawed frozen English peas
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. (375 g) sourdough bread, torn into 1- to 2-inch (2.5- to 5-cm) pieces
  • 8 oz. (250 g) feta cheese, preferably sheep’s milk, broken into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) packed mixed fresh herb leaves, such as dill, mint, basil and parsley, roughly torn

Directions:

To make the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, garlic, buttermilk, olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest and chopped herbs until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the snap peas and green onions to the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the English peas and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the olive oil. Add the bread and cook, without stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the bread over, add the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil and cook until the bread is crisp on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and season with salt. Let cool.

Add the asparagus, peas and bread to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in half of the feta and transfer the salad to a serving platter. Top with the remaining feta, the radishes and torn herbs. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen