I cannot begin to explain how much I love panzanella. If there’s one thing my good friends know about me, it’s that I do not like raw tomatoes. My one exception to this rule that I will eat them pending they are paired with strong robust flavours – and you know what? Panzanella is exactly that – garlic, basil, spanish onion, olive oil… all the main flavour contenders which make this salad fresh, vibrant and very special.
– 1/2 a punnet of cherry tomatoes,cut in half
– 1/2 a punnet of grape tomatoes, cut in half
– 3 kumatoes/truss, quartered
– 3 baby red capsicums, deseeded and cut into chunks
– 1 average sized lebanese cucumber, cut into 1cm rounds then quartered
– 1/2 a medium sized spanish onion, cut into slithers
– 1/2 a loaf of stale bread – I have found that Turkish bread and sourdough work best, but whatever you have on hand is great.
– a handful of basil leaves, torn
– garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
– sea salt
– a really good quality organic balsamic vinegar
1. Cut the crust off your loaf of stale bread. Cut the bread into 2cm chunks – think a little bigger than a dice. Throw your bread pieces into a bowl and coat with a generous amount of the garlic olive oil – make sure each piece has been kissed with golden goodness. Place on a tray with baking paper and pop into the oven until each piece is a little golden. Remove and allow to cool.
2. Throw all your tomatoes in a large bowl, season well with salt and pepper and allow to breathe for at least fifteen minutes before assembling the rest of the salad.
3. In a small frying pan, saute the capsicum chunks until the skins begin to blister. Set aside.
4. After the resting time, chuck in the baby capsicum chunks, cucumber, spanish onion, basil leaves and croutons. Add a really good glug of oil, some extra salt and pepper and using your hands toss the salad until everything is evenly combined. Transfer to your serving vessel, garnish with balsamic and serve room temperature.
Serves 4. If I could have found the little yellow cherry tomatoes, I would have used those instead of the grape variety. Also try and use whatever tomatoes are in season. If you need to bulk it up a little, add a few handfuls of baby spinach 😀