PANZANELLA SALAD WITH ALL THE TOMATOES
This humble Tuscan salad of tomatoes and bread is a brilliant way to use up your stale loaf that’s lying around as well as making the most of the abundant tomato season. We’ve gone all in here adding multiple types of tomatoes, from fresh, to salted, to sun-blushed and sun-dried. The different types all bring the best of the tomato, from sweet freshness to a more umami taste coming from the dried varieties. Baking the stale bread with a few herbs also turns boring leftovers into insanely moreish croutons, you’ll want to keep at hand for snacking. This is truly a beautifully simple and flavour-packed Italian salad to enjoy all Summer.
THE PANZANELLA SALAD
200g Stale bread, (we chose focaccia, but sourdough or baguette would work nicely. Avoid any sliced bread type though)
2–4 Garlic Cloves, depending on your liking
1 tsp dried Mediterranean herbs (or dried thyme)
2–3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Chilli Flakes (optional)
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Capers
6 Heirloom Tomatoes
4 pieces of Sun-Blushed Tomatoes
4 pieces of Sundried Tomatoes
1 Garlic Clove
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Small Bunch of Fresh Basil (approximately 50g)
- Preheat your oven to 150˚C/ 145˚C (fan oven). Cut your stale bread into cubes (about 3cm). The bread should be stale, maybe 1 to 2 days old, but not to the point where you need a hacksaw to cut it!
- In a bowl place the olive oil, dried herbs, chilli flakes and minced garlic. Then add the cubed focaccia and mix well to make sure the bread pieces are well coated. At this stage, you can add a little extra olive oil if you feel some of your bread is not coated.
- Place the bread pieces on a baking tray evenly spaced out and bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
THE SALAD INGREDIENTS
- Start by slicing the red onion finely and place the slices in a small bowl, covering them with red wine vinegar and set aside in the fridge. This takes away that super strong raw onion taste but by all means, if you LOVE the taste of raw onions you can skip this step. This step can be done a day ahead.
- Cut the tomatoes into wedges. Place half of them in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt. This will help drain the delicious juices out of the tomatoes which we will use later for the dressing. You can even do this the day before.
- To make your dressing add the minced garlic to the tomato juices.
- Whisk in the olive oil, followed by the vinegar, salt and pepper. The Aperol brings a lovely sweet and fragrant flavour to the dressing that goes beautifully with the tomatoes. If you don’t have any at hand though, simply replace it with more red wine vinegar.
ASSEMBLING THE PANZANELLA SALAD
- In the meantime, place your bread croutons at the bottom of a serving bowl. Top with the drained onion slices and the capers. Next add the salted tomatoes (making sure to keep the juice), followed by the fresh tomatoes. Then, add the sun-blushed and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Pour the dressing over your Panzanella salad and toss well. Finish it off with basil leaves. Allow the salad to sit for about 15 minutes to enable the bread to soak up those lovely tomato juices and dressing before serving. The bread should have softened up a little without being completely soggy either. Enjoy with this summery crab linguine pasta.