To me, summer is synonymous with grilling.  My Dad was a grilling fanatic and now every time we use the grill he bought us years ago in our first home, memories come rushing back.  The warm sun on my skin, the feeling of the breeze, and the smell of the charcoal are instant reminders of him.  Though we do enjoy the typical grilled fare of burgers, occasional steaks, etc., my grilling style is a bit different.  I like to experiment with somewhat lighter dishes that still benefit from that irreplaceable char-grilled flavor.

Recently I thought it might be fun to try a grilled panzanella.  I grilled thick slices of sourdough bread spread with garlic butter and simple marinated chicken breasts.  When the bread and chicken were finished, I chopped them up and tossed them together with diced cucumber, tomato, and crumbled feta cheese. The warm bread and grilled chicken are nicely contrasted by the cool, crunchy cucumbers and ripe tomatoes.  The buttery, garlicky bread cubes were definitely my favorite part – how could they not be?  This is a quick, simple and refreshing meal that is sure to be a go-to meal through the rest of the summer.

Ingredients

For the chicken: 
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup canola oil
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)

For the salad:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 1-inch thick slices sourdough bread (about 4-5 cups when cubed)
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, sliced and quartered into wedges
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  • 01

    Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.  While the grill is heating, make the marinade.  In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, canola oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Stir well to combine.  Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, mixing briefly to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, prepare the bread slices.  Combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix until evenly combined.  Spread a thin layer of the garlic butter on both sides of each slice of bread.

  • 03

    When the grill is heated, place the chicken pieces on the grill and cook, turning once, until browned on the outside and the internal temperature registers 160˚ F.  Remove the chicken pieces to a plate or cutting board to rest briefly.  Meanwhile, place the bread slices on the grill.  Let cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes total.  Keep a close eye on the bread to prevent charring.  Remove the finished bread pieces to a plate or cutting board.  Cut up the chicken and the bread into bite-size pieces and add to a large bowl.  Add the cucumber, tomatoes, and feta to the bowl with the chicken and bread.  Toss gently just until evenly combined.  Serve immediately.

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