Purple Sprouting Broccoli Panzanella

Many times in my life I had the impression that the closest people in physical terms aren’t necessarily the closest to my heart. Like-minded people can live very far from each other. Sometimes, they cross paths for what is a blink of an eye before continuing in their own direction. Others, they never meet, at least in person.

I grew up in a place that I didn’t feel I belonged to. I have never had anyone that I could consider a friend, no one that I would consider interesting. Things changed slightly as I grew up, as I was trying to fit in, but a deep feeling of dissatisfaction was lingering within. Until college, I rarely met someone that made me “wow”, or that really stimulated me, or pushed me toward greater things and thoughts. Deceived, I spent lots of my time on my own, contemplating. I got used to solitude, and I learnt not to fear it. Back then, I decided that my own company was better than void conversations.

It all changed for the best when I moved to college first, and then onto my masters. I hoped and knew that somehow it was going to happen. More people, more choices, more opportunities. I finally made life-lasting friendships and consolidated some old ones. Like-minded people were finally around me, engaging in conversations about controversial, challenging topics, dreaming about better futures, enjoying the same small pleasures. It felt good. I finally met my soulmate, too, we bonded together. And then, we left, as many of our friends.

Life as a simplifier is what I always dreamt about. No boundaries, no weights to keep me planted on the ground. I don’t miss having a car or owning a house. Sometimes, I just miss my friends, those friends that I met back then, and that now are living their life in different places. All of us decided what was best for ourselves, decided to stay or to leave, without compromising our friendship. Like-minded people can live far from each other and keep that relationship alive just by writing a few lines now and then. We all know that many of our thoughts are with each other, and there is no need for constant confirmation. I feel blessed for this. Like minded people can be found through blogs and emails – and I did feel like I made some long-lasting friendships through these pages.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli Panzanella

serves 3-4
a bunch of purple sprouting broccolini (about 300 gr)
2 thick slices of crusty bread, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
about 50 gr (1/4 cup) of goat’s cheese, crumbled, shaved or cut in small pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp acacia honey
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt

freshly ground pepper, to taste

Rinse broccolini under cold running water and drain. Cut off the ends and cut roughly in small sized bits. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch broccolini for 1 minute or so. Drain and place in a bowl with cold water. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft, deglaze with balsamic vinegar and let it go until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally (about 3-4 minutes).

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and when hot add bread chunks. Saute until crispy and deeply browned. Remove and set aside.

Prepare the seasoning mixing lemon juice with mustard, salt, honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil and pepper. Drain broccolini using a towel or kitchen paper. Place in a serving dish, then add the onion, the green onion, and season. Toss well to coat. Add croutons and cheese, toss again and serve.




  1. Ciao Valeria, i tuoi pensieri e sensazioni sono molto simile alle mie; forse mi sento un pò strana per via della mentalità culturale che un pò ingabbia (divertirsi sempre, mai stare da soli, non puoi essere amica di una persona che non conosci…), però cerco di vivere le mie emozioni assecondando i miei desideri. Bellissimo post come al solito!

  2. bruna May 10, 2012

    E' una sensazione bellissima quella di trovarsi in sintonia con persone che si conoscono solo attraverso il web, con loro si riesce spesso a dialogare più liberamente che con gli amici in carne ed ossa e lo scambio è sempre molto arricchente!
    Grazie per le tue parole e per la gustosa panzanella che cercherei di rifare se qui trovassi i broccoli viola!

  3. Nepitella May 11, 2012

    Valeria! cosa non è la prima foto con quel bouquet mi ci sposerei 🙂 e anche la ricetta deve essere eccezionale

  4. marifra79 May 11, 2012

    Che bello venire a trovarti ogni volta!!! Un abbraccio Valeria!!!!!

  5. chiarina-ina May 11, 2012

    Diretto e commovente…

  6. riso mandorlino May 12, 2012

    Uno spazio delizioso il tuo!!Grazie, buon week end,;) Lys

  7. Reb May 13, 2012

    'Due buoni compagni di viaggio, non dovrebbero lasciarsi mai. Potranno scegliere imbarchi diversi, saranno sempre due marinai'.
    Me la son sempre canticchiata tra me e me, e sempre tutte quelle volte che mi son sentita esattamente come descrivi.
    Di bene, non sai nemmeno quanto ne hai fatto te a me, cara la mia meravigliosa Val.
    Ti abbraccio, ma forte e più forte, che ti ho pensata anch'io spesso in luoghi di cui leggerai.

  8. Ilenia May 17, 2012

    Ciao Valeria, ti ho scoperta per caso e mi sono subito unita a questo blog, perché mi riconosco nelle tue parole… la sensazione di non appartenere al luogo in cui si è nati, il desiderio di viaggiare senza restare attaccati a niente, ma allo stesso tempo la voglia di avere delle persone su cui contare.
    Sarà un piacere conoscerti meglio attraverso queste pagine!
    Buona giornata e a presto!

  9. Regula May 17, 2012

    I love you pictures! These vegetables look so delicious!

  10. thelittleloaf May 18, 2012

    I just discovered your beautiful blog via Emiko Davies and am so happy that I did. I love the idea of taking a concept like panzanella and making it into something completely new. The textures in this salad look very different, but equally as delicious, and your photographs are beautiful.

    Now heading over to Pinterest to look at your boards as they are so inspiring!


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