Tuesday, 26 July 2011

PANZANELLA, a lovely bread and tomato salad

There are so many ways to make panzanella! Sometimes, in summer, I make a very simple version just by cutting up stale bread into chunks, combining it with a sliced tomato, and mixing it up with some lemon juice and olive oil. If I want to get fancy I top it with a little crumbled feta cheese. Very simple and it hits the spot.   

Panzanella is a summertime bread salad made popular by the Florentines. It's a good way to use up leftover bread, and it's true peasant fare, which means it's really good. In addition to the bread, Panzanella includes
tomatoes, lots of basil, and sometimes other fresh vegetables. The salad is dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar. It's a great choice for dinner on a hot, hot, day. I made some recently when the temperature was hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and here's how I put it together:

Get a piece of stale bread and cut it into cubes. Sprinkle with olive oil and mix well. Place the bread cubes in a skillet and cook them on the stove top. Make sure they are cooked on all sides. During the last minute of cooking add some grated Pecorino Romano cheese and mix. The cheese will start to melt as it cooks. Set the bread cubes aside and let them cool. 

In a large bowl toss the following: 1 sliced large tomato, some cherry tomatoes of various colours cut in half,  a few Kalamata olives cut in half, lots of basil leaves coarsely chopped, and a little Italian parsley coarsely chopped. 

Make a dressing by combining 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, some black pepper, a dash of salt, and a pinch of fresh thyme. Pour it over the salad. Add the reserved bread and toss everything well. Top the salad with a small amount of crumbled feta cheese. Chill for about an hour, then serve and enjoy!!!