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Ark of Taste Recipe: Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce - Panzanella

Sep. 8, 2016

Ark of Taste Recipe: Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce - Panzanella

Ark of Taste Deer Tongue Lettuce-detailsThe pointy leaves of this lettuce will remind you of a deer sticking out its tongue. And the pleasantly sharp flavor will have you licking your lips. Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, also known as Matchless, has been around since the 1740s. Likely brought to North America by English settlers, its origin is tied to New England. It was popular up until the industrialization of agriculture post World War II, which introduced mass production. In order for lettuce to be mass-produced, it had to survive long transportation. Hardy and sturdy-leafed lettuces took over the market, while the fragile-leafed Amish Deer Tongue was nearly forgotten. Luckily, interest in heirloom vegetables has put Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce back on the map. It can be found at local farmers markets across the country, and it is appreciated for its delicate leaves and wonderful, sharp flavor that tastes fresh from the forest. 

Learn More about Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce.

Panzanella is an Italian dish from Tuscany that is essentially like bread salad. It’s a delicious way to use up stale bread, since it soaks up all the juices from the vinaigrette. It’s like summer on a plate. The fresh herbs mix with the salty feta and sharp Amish Deer Tongue lettuce for a delicious take on an Italian classic.

Panzanella

Servings: 6-8
Active: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce (about 8 cups), washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 cups heirloom tomatoes, various colors, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 3 Tbsp (or more) red wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf stale, crusty bread, like a baguette or ciabatta, cut into 1" thick slices
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced 

Method:

In a large serving dish, combine lettuce with tomatoes and onion. Stir in olive oil and vinegar, then season with salt and
pepper to taste.

Add bread to tomato mixture. Toss until bread is well coated and starts to absorb liquid, crushing the tomatoes slightly with your hands. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Before serving, mix in feta, basil, mint and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding another splash of olive oil, vinegar or a pinch of salt, if needed. Serve immediately.

DO AHEAD: Panzanella can sit for an hour in the fridge or at room temperature for the flavors to incorporate and the bread to absorb all the juices.

Download more Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce recipes.

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