Stone Fruit Panzanella Recipe

Stone Fruit Panzanella with Basil Ricotta
Recipe by Chef Jesus Escobar

1 Peach, pit removed, cut in wedges
1 Nectarine, pit removed, cut in wedges
1 Plum, pit removed, cut in wedges
4 Apricots, pit removed, cut in wedges
½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Basil leaves, torn
2 cups Arugula

Cut and cover all fruit with damp paper towel to avoid discoloration. Leave remaining ingredients separate as you wait for the bread to marinate and break down (see following steps).

Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
½ cup Canola Oil
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1T. Dijon Mustard

Combine Balsamic Vinegar and Dijon in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine the two oils separately and slowly drizzle into vinegar while whisking to emulsify.

2 cups Bread [preferably day old baguette]
3 cups Canola Oil
1 Garlic Clove, smashed

Remove crust off baguette and cut bread into bite sized pieces. Bring Canola oil up to 325 degrees in a small sauce pot or sauté pan, add smashed garlic and infuse oil. Remove garlic when golden brown, as to not make croutons bitter. Place bread in rondo (shallow pot) and cook until bread is a nice golden brown; remove from sauce pot and place on baking tray lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Basil Ricotta
4 cup blanched Basil
4 cups fresh Ricotta Cheese
½ cup Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

In a blender mix the blanched basil and olive oil until it creates a puree. Mix the basil puree in a bowl with the fresh ricotta; salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl dress the croutons with about ¼ cup of vinaigrette to marinate and break them down but being cautious as to not over dress and make them soggy; about 3-5 minutes. After bread has reached consistency, fold in remaining ingredients: fruit, red onions, basil, and arugula. Dress with remaining vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper.

Spread the basil ricotta on a plate to create a well for the salad to fall into. With a spoon plate dressed Panzanella in the center. Garnish with fresh torn basil and extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!