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In the Kitchen: Culina's Panzanella Salad

Culina's Panzanella at dinnertime (Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)
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Part of what makes a meal at Culina so lovely is the celebration of the seasons via their specials menu, and, with their Panzanella Salad in particular, the way the ingredients come together before your eyes before you take that first bite.

With summer upon us, we're at the time when tomatoes are ripening to their full, sweet, fleshy glory on the vine. Watermelons are hefty and taut on the outside, but once opened have that perfect, dripping, taste of pure pink summertime. These sweet, colorful bits mesh beautifully with the salt and cream of ricotta, the cool green crisp of cucumber slices, and the mellow heartiness of country bread.

This is Panzanella, a "bread salad" that at Culina is assembled tableside, then divided into bowls for diners to enjoy, as we did at a recent dinner. Chef Victor Casanova has shared his recipe, and there is no better time than summer, when the produce is bountiful, as are the occasions on your calendar that signal getting together and sharing a dish at a party or get-together.