Panzanella, Asian Style of Course

Panzanella, or bread salad is a genius concept. Bread, oil, vinegar, tomatoes, BOOM delicious entre. It’s filling because of the bread aspect, but also healthy because it’s 60% vegetables.

I’ve been making a very simple tomato cucumber salad lately with just rice vinegar and sesame oil as dressing. The inspiration comes from a little tiny bar in a hipster neighborhood of Tokyo. The bar is called Luccy and i’m pretty sure it’s in the Koenji neighborhood in Western Tokyo. Koenji is a neighborhood virtually unknown to tourists as it’s mostly populated by young people. I imagine it’s like what Williamsburg Brooklyn was in 2003. Koenji might experience an influx of tourists. Literary tourists that is. It’s the neighborhood in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 that hero Tengo lives for most of the novel.

My friend David took me there on my last night in Tokyo and the owner (Katsura) whipped up this amazing salad of just cucumbers, tomatoes,  and sesame oil. I’ve been making it ever since.

That’s me and Katsura in her bar, Luccy.

Asian Style Panzanella

You will need:

1 cucumber

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

4 Tablespoons sesame oil

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

1  ½ cups crusty bread, chopped into small cubes

Method:

1. In a medium bowl using a fork, whisk the sesame oil and vice vinegar together and set aside.

2. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl of dressing, add the bread as well. Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise once again and then chop into small ½ inch pieces, add to the bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside.

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