A glut of late-summer tomatoes and some bread to use up calls for one thing – panzanella! (said in your best Italian accent). Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad designed to use up stale leftover bread. I’m really into my spelt bread at the moment and it worked perfectly in this recipe as it is quite robust.
You will need:
2 peppers, red and yellow
chunk of leftover bread
around 1kg of tomatoes
6 anchovy fillets, optional
a handful of small capers, washed
1 red onion, finely sliced
half a cucumber, finely diced
large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Start by chopping your peppers into chunks and roasting them in a little olive oil until they are soft and starting to colour. Removed any hard crusts from the bread then tear into bitesized chunks and set aside to dry out. Always keep tomatoes at room temperature (top tip from Jamie Oliver!). Give them a wash and chop into chunks the same size as the bread. Lightly season the tomatoes with sea salt and put them in a colander with a bowl below to catch the juice. Salt draws moisture out of vegetables so will bring the juice out of the tomatoes. Pop the achovies and capers into the bowl beneath the tomatoes. In another bowl, mix together the cucumber, onion and bread and add the peppers when they have finished roasting.
Give the tomatoes a toss around in the colander and press them lightly to get out any remaining juice. If you let the tomatoes sit for at least 20 minutes you should have a good amount of juice in the bowl. Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the cucumber and peppers and tear in the basil leaves.
Add the red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar is fine too) and garlic to the tomato juice and drizzle in a good glug of olive oil – enough to make a good dressing. Season if necessary and pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss everything together until well combined.
This is a hearty salad and really fills you up. And of course prevents any waste from leftover bread!