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We spent the 4th of July weekend in Birmingham with the family. Whenever we are in Birmingham during market season, I love to go to Pepper Place Market on Saturday morning. This Saturday, Chef Chris Vizzina was doing the cooking demo. The menu for the morning was Panzanella Salad – a Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes. Besides his day job at Samford University, Chris works with Slow Food Birmingham and the Chefs to Schools (or Farm to School) program working with local city and county schools on incorporating more fresh produce and ingredients into the menus. Chris has totally transformed the food service at Samford utilizing more local and fresh ingredients.
The Panzanella Salad included more than just bread and tomatoes this week! The produce from the market was absolutely beautiful. (Check out the pictures of the veggies!) Along with Chris, Jones Valley Urban Farm was there and provided some of the produce. The rest came from Snow’s Bend Farm. Chris grilled sweet peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini and red onions. Along with the incredible heirloom tomatoes, they had two fantastic cherry tomatoes. The bread was freshly baked Olive Bread from Continental Bakery in Birmingham.
The Panzanella Salad is a simple recipe showcasing the fresh produce. Start by putting the bread cubes in the bottom of a big bowl and then adding all of the produce to the bowl. Let the bread soak up the juices out of the produce (especially the tomatoes). Chris also made a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing to add along with some chopped caper berries. Mix it all together and serve out a fantastic taste of summer.
Make Pepper Place Saturday Morning Market a destination for your next visit to Birmingham!