Panzanella
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Ready in 30 minutes

Panzanella, also called Tuscan bread salad, is made with tomato, onion, garlic, capers and olives and great for reinvigorating stale bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 good-sized ciabatta loaf, stale bread works well
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 750g medium vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp capers in brine, drained and rinsed
  • 100g small black olives
  • 25g basil leaves, torn

Method

  1. Preheat the grill to high. Cut the bread into 1cm slices and toast very lightly on both sides. Cool, then break into pieces.
  2. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthways and scoop out and discard the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into slices.
  3. Grill the red pepper over a naked gas flame or under the grill for 7-8 minutes, turning, until blistered and blackened. Put in a plastic bag, seal and cool. Peel off the skin, remove the stalk and seeds, and cut the flesh into chunky strips.
  4. Working over a sieve set over a large salad bowl, quarter and deseed the tomatoes, rubbing the juice from the seeds through the sieve. Chop the flesh, taking care to save the juices. Season.
  5. Crush the garlic on a board with a little salt and stir into the tomato juice with the vinegar, oil and a little seasoning.
  6. Just before serving, add the bread to the bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the cucumber, red pepper, tomatoes, red onion, capers, olives and basil and season. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften slightly.
  7. Pile the mixture onto 4 plates. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

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