Panzanella

It may feel horribly wintery, suddenly cold and dark all the time, but the tomatoes available are still sweet and delicious. The perfect time to inject a ray of sunshine into your day with this unashamedly bright and summery salad. It certainly made our day a bit brighter when we ate it for lunch on a grey day this weekend. I’ve read all sorts of recipes for this classic Mediterranean salad, some recommending leaving the dish for up to a day before eating. Personally, I prefer the bread croutons to retain a good crunch and crispness. I am not really a fan of soggy bread in a tomato salad. Forgive me if this is ‘wrong’! Hence I would recommend leaving the dish for up to half an hour before eating, giving the best of both worlds – your croutons retain some crunch but have also absorbed plenty of the vinegary dressing. Delicious!

Panzanella (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 2-4

  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 10 ripe tomatoes ( a variety if possible)
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 handful olives
  • handful basil leaves, roughly torn.

for the dressing:

  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6

– Cut the rolls into rough cubes, drizzle with the oil and bake for 10-15 minutes until toasty and golden. Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar.

– Place the sliced shallots in cold water and leave for about half an hour to take the strength out. Drain.

– Roughly chop the tomatoes and mix with the other ingredients. Mix in the dressing.

– Add the crispy bread cubes and toss well.

– Leave for 15 minutes at room temperature

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