Panzanella

Panzanella

By
From
How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Little more than torn stale bread, ripe tomatoes, cucumber and torn basil, this Tuscan salad is surprisingly good. A dressing of verdant green extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, plus a hint of garlic, melds the flavours beautifully. I have seen other ingredients added – finely sliced onion, capers and black olives, for example – but I prefer this simple combination. Grilling the bread and lightly roasting the tomatoes may not be authentic, but I think it enhances the flavour; it also enables the salad to hold up for a little longer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
16-18 little ripe tomatoes, such as san marzano
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 little cucumbers (or ⅔ standard one)
6 thick slices crusty peasant-style bread
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
bunch basil, leaves only

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Wash the tomatoes and pat dry. Pierce each once or twice, using a small sharp knife, then place on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until softened and then allow to cool. (You can skip this stage if you like and simply use the tomatoes fresh.)
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cucumbers into chunks. Grill the bread on both sides until lightly toasted, then rub with the cut garlic clove and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and tear the bread into chunks.
  3. Place the tomatoes, cucumber and bread in a serving bowl and toss lightly. Drizzle over the wine vinegar and the rest of the olive oil, tear in the basil and toss together well with your fingers. Taste for seasoning, adding a grinding of pepper and a little salt if needed.
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