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How to Make Eastern Market Panzanella [Guest Post]

Posted on Tuesday, August 13 2013 in Dining

 EasternMarketPanzanella AmyScott

It's late morning at Eastern Market and a dead ringer for Tina Turner dances at a frenetic pace in front of Bert's Marketplace. Acting as impromptu fog machines, Bert's grills smoke with rack after rack of baby back ribs. The woman ratchets up for her grand karaoke finale, legs and hair flying as she belts "Proud Mary" for the crowd. All around vendors lay out their brightest and freshest produce, their brag voices rising above the crowd: "Cherries, fresh Michigan cherries!"

My friend, visiting from sun-scorched Dallas, and I begin the day right with breakfast at Russell Street Deli. We eat cafeteria-style, elbow-to-elbow with a table full of new friends. After comparing notes — the Copenhagen omelet with its pile of sizzling home fries did not disappoint — we finish our freshly squeezed orange juice and head out to the sheds.

Eastern Market is Detroit's oldest and most famous farmer's market — for good reason. With more than 250 vendors, it has something for everyone.

After taste testing tomatoes so ripe they seem to burst, we settle on a mixed basket of yellow and orange fruit. We cannot resist another basket of mini cucumbers. Following our noses, we find ourselves at Patisserie by Matt Knio where a steaming baguette practically jumps into our market bag. We top things off with a bag of peppery arugula from Brother Nature Produce, an innovative two-acre farm in the heart of Corktown that specializes in salad greens.
While we could spend hours happily browsing the market itself, we head over to the bustling and newly renovated Devries & Co. general store for some quality cheese. With my heavy market bag slung over my shoulder, we hike back to the car and imagine a lunch that practically makes itself.

Inspired by Patisserie's gorgeous baguette and our wealth of colorful vegetables, we decide to make panzanella, Italian bread salad made with the freshest ingredients Eastern Market offers. Dressed simply in lemon and olive oil, this panzanella is summer in a bowl. Polish the meal off with a slice of Pie Guy's homemade gooseberry pie and you have sheer bliss.


Serves 4-6

•    1 baguette
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    2 teaspoons garlic powder
•    2 teaspoons kosher salt
•    1 cucumber or 4 mini cucumbers, diced
•    4 tomatoes, diced
•    1 shallot, thinly sliced
•    zest and juice of one lemon
•    4 cups arugula
•    blue cheese (or other crumbled cheese like feta) for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice baguette into one-inch cubes and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cubes with one teaspoon garlic powder and one teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine. Bake for ten minutes or until the croutons are crisp.

While the croutons are toasting, dice the cucumbers and tomatoes. Combine both in a large bowl and add thinly sliced shallot. Mix vegetables with the croutons and sprinkle with the remaining garlic powder and kosher salt. Add lemon zest, juice and another drizzle of olive oil, then toss to mix. Let the salad sit for ten minutes and serve on a bed of arugula. Top with crumbled blue cheese.   

Eastern Market Panzanella | Detroit Lives from Club Narwhal on Vimeo.

About the video: "Eastern Market Panzanella" takes Visit Detroiters into the heart of Eastern Market where we make pit stops at various vendors. After shopping, we go home and make Italian bread salad with all the produce we bought. Below you'll find a photo, blog text, and recipe for the panzanella.


What’s your favorite food from Eastern Market?


EasternMarketPanzanellaAmy Lee Scott Profile


About the Author: Amy Lee Scott is a writer and blogger with a severe case of wanderlust. A transplant to metro Detroit, she loves exploring the city — both the highlights and the places that might be overlooked. She writes about food, books, travel and Detroit at Club Narwhal. Stop on by!