Local Cheese Curd & Tomato Panzanella Salad

Cheese curds are back! After a long hiatus, we have cheese curds from local farm Marcoot Jersey Creamery! We have the perfect summer recipe using local ingredients. This tomato, cucumber, and cheese curd panzanella salad is topped off with a simple red wine vinaigrette making it the perfect blend of light vegetables and decadent cheese curds. 

Ingredients

Half loaf of Central Illinois Bakehouse herb focaccia bread, sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 red tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, chopped

1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced

1 package Marcoot Jersey Creamery plain cheese curds

2/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions

1) In a large bowl, combine cucumber, tomato and basil. Set aside. 

2) Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let heat up. Add the sliced bread to the pan and cook, flipping occasionally, until the bread is crisp and golden brown. Set bread aside to cool.

3) Meanwhile, reduce the heat on the pan to medium-low. Wait a minute or two for it to cool down, then add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the cheese curds and cook until they are browned and crisp on the bottom. Use a spatula to carefully remove the curds and set aside on a plate. 

4) Chop the bread slices into 1-inch cubes, and add to the tomato cucumber mixture. Add the cheese curds to the bowl.

5) For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette onto the salad, adjusting for your desired dressing amount. Serve & enjoy!