MTT: Panzanella

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There have been a couple of new additions to my Life List this week, one of them being ‘do a foodie tour across Italy’. As much as I wholeheartedly love Greek food, to me the Italians do it with more finesse, variation, and most importantly, wine. I’m going to start my Italian food journey by taking my dad on a birthday Italian cookery course soon (what? He couldn’t go alone!), and until then I have some Burrata (which I would rather not ruin with our bland british tomatoes so I’m thinking about using it on a pizza) and a handful of Italian-inspired recipes to tide me over.

I used one of these recipes for Panzanella when my Mother-in-Law came for dinner last week, which I served with a couple of other salads.  It’s never particularly easy to cook and parent at the same time so I prefer to make quick, easy recipes that can take a bit of standing around in case we have to make an emergency trip to the park. Or to bed for a nap. Panzanella requires an amount of standing time so it’s perfect for a prepare-ahead dinner.


It’s an easy, pretty, colourful, summery salad that you could eat on its own for lunch, or accompany it with a green salad and some rosemary roast potatoes for dinner.

The dish is traditionally made with stale bread, but I oven-bake mine to crisp it up. Another - slightly naughtier - idea is to fry off the bread in Olive Oil. But I couldn't possibly condone such behaviour.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 large, mild chilli, chopped finely
  • 600g ripe tomatoes (preferably organic), roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 de-seeded red pepper, roughly chopped
  • half large cucumber
  • 4 thick slices bread
  • small bunch basil
  1. If you are baking your bread, break it into chunks and bake in the oven on a medium heat until golden brown.
  2. Stir together the garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt. Add the sugar and vinegar, mix, and turn into a large salad bowl. Add the olive oil and stir in.
  3. Prepare and add all salad ingredients to the bowl.
  4. Stir in bread chunks.
  5. Tear herb leaves over and season with salt and pepper; leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before serving, stirring through a couple of times.



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