Finished dish photo of panzanella salad in the Tribune Studio on Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 for the Dinner tonight column in the Good Eating section. Styling by Lisa Schumacher. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
Photo: Bill Hogan
Photo: Bill Hogan

French wines with an Italian bread salad? Of course!

One of our favorite summer dishes, panzanella, the bread and tomato salad of Italy, is changed up here, just a bitand with respect, by adding a skewer-ful of grilled shrimp. To us, it makes the perfect light meal. Greet that unexpected combination with wines up to the task, showing good acidity, like these French bottles.

Make this: Panzanella With Grilled Shrimp

In a large bowl, mix together 1 pound tomatoes, chopped in 1-inch pieces; 1 English cucumber, diced; and 1/2 cup diced sweet onion. Stir in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar; season with salt. Stir in half a day-old baguette, cubed in bite-size pieces. Let rest, stirring occasionally so the bread can absorb the vegetables’ juices. Thread 1 pound shelled, deveined shrimp on skewers. Brush with a little vegetable oil to prevent sticking; season with salt. Grill over medium heat, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 minutes. Serve with the salad. Makes: 4 servings

Recipe by Joe Gray

Drink this

Pairings by sommelier Alan Beasey, of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin:

2015 Domaine De La Pepiere, Clos de Briords, Muscadet-Sevre et Maine, Loire Valley, France: Made of the melon de bourgogne grape variety, this wine is crisp and lively with flavors of lime, green apple and pear. A tart acidity is joined by chalky minerality and a hint of salinity. Plus, the wine’s yeasty, creamy, bready qualities give it extra layers of depth and character, making it a perfect match for this dish.

2016 Champalou Vouvray, Loire Valley, France: For a bit more body and structure, try this chenin blanc. It has bright, crisp acidity but what takes it to the next level is its rich, ripe fruit. Delicate floral aromas lead to flavors of golden apple, white peach and honeysuckle. Juicy and lush, there’s a richness to this wine. Balanced by substantial acidity, it will be perfect with the dish’s ripe summer tomatoes and lightly smoky shrimp.

2014 Guy Breton Vieilles Vignes Morgon, Beaujolais, France: This red wine is fresh and fruit-forward with ripe, juicy black cherry flavors and a hint of quince. The wine’s aromas of black pepper and spice with hints of savory herbs will complement the panzanella and bring out the most savory elements of the shrimp. In spite of the spice, this wine is fresh and fruity, finishing with tart acidity. Be sure to give it a slight chill.

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