A delicious Tuscan salad which is usually made with stale bread – we think the bread in Tuscany may contain less preservative as our bread rarely gets a chance to go stale. This version uses baked croutons for a similar effect. Make sure you leave the salad for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to mingle.
Panzanella – to serve 6
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large mild red chilli
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 600g ripe tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- ½ large cucumber
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tbsp capers
- ½ red onion
- 4 thick slices from a country-style loaf
- a small bunch of basil
Crush the garlic with a little bit of salt in a mortar, then deseed and chop up the chilli and crush with the salt and garlic until you have a coarse paste.
Add the vinegar and sugar and mix then tip into a large salad bowl. Add the olive oil and beat together.
Chop the rest of the salad ingredients into bite-size chunks or slices.
Tear the bread into small chunks and bake in a moderate oven until golden and crispy, then add the salad bowl.
Tear over the basil and add to the bowl with a bit of salt and pepper, then toss lightly and leave to stand for about 30 minutes. Toss again before serving.
Wine Suggestion: Wines from a region tend to complement the foods from that region (kind of like a chicken and egg thing). A glass of straightforward Chianti will have the right sort of acidity and rusticity to complement this perfectly.
(Original recipe by Alastair Hendry in Olive, June 2010.)