Cooking the Channel: A Duo of David Rocco Salads

By: Sara Levine
Related To:

On a sweltering Sunday, the last thing I wanted to do was turn on a burner or the oven. It was the perfect day for light, refreshing no-cook recipes. Maybe a salad, I thought, but not any old boring jumble of lettuce and dressing. A couple fresh Italian salads from David Rocco's Dolce Vita caught my eye and I knew they’d make an ideal summer meal.

I started with David’s panzanella, a Tuscan staple that I fell in love with while studying abroad in Florence. The first crucial step to this colorful, flavor-packed salad is the bread. The sliced wheat you have on hand for sandwiches just won’t do. You need a loaf of crusty Italian bread, preferably day-old.

I dipped my bread slices in water and cut them up into chunks. Then I squeezed the juice out of my cherry tomatoes, reserving it in a small bowl. Though a bit messy, using the tomato juice as the base of my olive oil-red wine vinegar dressing infused the whole salad with a wonderfully fresh, tomatoey flavor.

Since this salad has so few ingredients, make sure you use good ones. Get fresh basil that looks bright and green and tear up the leaves. For me, the more basil the better.

While this went into the refrigerator to meld—David suggests a few hours—I got started on salad #2. This one’s a protein-packed combination of white beans and tuna. Tossed with a little chopped celery for crunch, olive oil and a liberal amount of lemon juice, it is ridiculously simple and delicious.

These salads tasted great side by side—the creamy tuna-white bean salad and sweet-tart panzanella complement each other well. David adds a Beef Braised in Chianti to the spread, which sounds perfect for a breezy Italian summer night—just maybe not a humid, New York one.

What are you cooking to stay cool this summer?

Next Up

Summer Entertaining Week on Cooking Channel

Get inspiration this week on Cooking Channel for warm-weather entertaining, and pull together a seasonal menu for your next backyard barbecue or potluck.

5 Ways to Make Your Picnic Slawsome

Get coleslaw recipes and ideas for summer side dishes, including beet and carrot slaw, Asian-style slaw and more picnic recipes on Cooking Channel.

Cookbook Giveaway — Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

Get sample recipes perfect for summertime from the cookbook Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater.

Great Grilling with Kevin Gillespie

Try great grilling recipes with Kevin Gillespie as the chef shares his ideas for ribs, potato salad and more on Cooking Channel.

Food to Pack for a Day at the Beach

Beach bound? Pack these delicious and portable foods in your cooler to extend your fun in the sun.

Make Your Own Bourbon Peach Butter

Save delicious summer peaches for a dreary winter day with this bourbon-and-spice peach butter recipe.

Summer Corn Recipes + Facts

Feast on sweet summer corn, fresh from the farm stand.

On TV

Carnival Kings

7:30am | 6:30c

Carnival Kings

8:30am | 7:30c

Carnival Kings

9:30am | 8:30c

Unique Eats

10am | 9c

Unique Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Eats

11am | 10c

Unique Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

12:30pm | 11:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Carnival Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Carnival Eats

4:30pm | 3:30c

Carnival Eats

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man v. Food

8pm | 7c

Man v. Food

8:30pm | 7:30c

Man v. Food

9pm | 8c

Man v. Food

9:30pm | 8:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

10pm | 9c

Man v. Food

12am | 11c

Man v. Food

12:30am | 11:30c

Man v. Food

1am | 12c

Man v. Food

1:30am | 12:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Mondays 9|8c

So Much Pretty Food Here