I love panzanella. It’s one of those salads that uses pretty much any ingredient you like, although at its roots is bread, tomatoes and a good olive oil. It tastes even better the day after making as all the juices soak into the bread.
For my salad, I omitted the tomatoes (I don’t really like them, so rarely buy them fresh) but had a really excellent bread from our local bakery that was on the stale side and used watercress rather than the more traditional rocket.
Ingredients (I’ve not included quantities because you can use however much or as little as you like, although I feel the more fresh herbs, the better. Feel free to add anything else you fancy too):
- A couple of days old bread, cubed
- Roasted red pepper, sliced into strips
- Flat leaf parsley
- Onion, sliced thinly and fried off slowly to bring out the sweetness
- Mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Roasting the pepper is easy by the way. Just blacken the skin on a gas hob or under the grill and then pop into a bowl and cover with cling film until cool. Scrape off the skin and slice the flesh into strips.
Combine all your ingredients into a big bowl and add a decent amount of oil and vinegar. Don’t eat it straight away, give it time (at least a couple of hours) for all the flavours to mix and soak in. It’s good served with a bit of chicken, but I just love eating this on its own for a delicious lunch.