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Appalachian Panzanella

Ingredients

  • Dressing- 1 C buttermilk
  • 1⁄4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1⁄4 C fresh chopped tarragon (optional)
  • Salad- 6 C sliced heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 C cucumbers, sliced and halved
  • 3 C arugula, spinach, or any salad greens
  • 1⁄3 C thinly sliced red onions
  • 1⁄2 C fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hushpuppies -1 C self-rising white cornmeal
  • 1⁄2 C self-rising flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1⁄4 C finely minced green onions, optional
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

For the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate.
For the salad: Gently toss all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
For hushpuppies: Combine the cornmeal, flour, and salt in a bowl.

Whisk together egg, buttermilk, and honey until combined.

Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Stir green onions into the batter.

Put 3 inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot and heat to about 375° over medium high heat.

Spoon out golf ball-sized scoops of batter and drop them carefully into oil.

Fry until golden brown.

Carefully remove the hushpuppies from the oil and place on absorbent toweling.
As soon as the hushpuppies are out of the fryer, put tomato mixture on an attractive serving plate.

Place 1 to 1-1/2 dozen hushpuppies across the top and drizzle lightly with dressing. Serve immediately. (You may have leftover dressing.) Serves 10.

• “Panzanella” is the Italian salad made with cubes of stale, toasted bread, juicy tomatoes, and a cook’s choice of summer garden ingredients, including peppers, onion, cucumber, and fresh basil.
•You can make Lora’s panzanella substituting cornbread croutons for the hushpuppies. Cut leftover cornbread in squares and toast them—spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt, then bake at 400° until toasty.
• Give your Kentucky panzanella even more Kentucky flavor by using Weisenberger cornmeal, and JD Country Milk buttermilk in the recipes.

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