Whilst panzanella might be a popular summer Italian salad, after the excesses of the festive period a warming and healthy salad sounds pretty appealling to us. Baz Nichols provides the recipe.
- 1kg ripe mixed tomatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
- 300g day-old sourdough, focaccia, or ciabatta, torn into large chunks
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 50ml red wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, or red onion finely chopped
- 50g tin anchovies, drained and roughly chopped
- 100g black olives, pitted
- Blackthorn sea salt or similar
- Large handful of basil leaves (leave whole, or torn into smaller pieces)
- For an additional Italian flavour hit, add a small sprig or two of Vertegrow Oregano, de-stemmed and finely chopped
- STEP 1 – Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 tsp Blackthorn sea salt, then leave to sit for 15 mins.
- STEP 2 – Spread the chunks of bread out on a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of the oil. Bake for 10-15 mins, or until lightly toasted.
- STEP 3 – In a bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, the vinegar and shallot. Season with Blackthorn sea salt and black pepper to taste. Toss the anchovies with the tomatoes, croutons, olive oil dressing, the olives and half the basil in a large bowl. Spoon the panzanella onto a serving plate and top with the remaining basil.
Panzanella is a fresh and easy way to use up your stale bread, combined with Vertegrow’s rich, flavoursome petite basil, and other classic, delicious mediterranean ingredients!
Mix It Up
You can create other, more innovative versions of panzanella by substituting half the basil with other Vertegrow herbs such as kale, rocket, mustard frills, even a little dill! Why not add chopped grilled bacon left overs from breakfast? Try adding a shot of lemon juice, or dijon mustard mixed with the olive oil? Other classic panzanella’s include chopped cucumber, but why not try adding chick peas, or borlotti beans for a twist on flavour?
Recipes and suggestions by Baz Nichols, Vertegrow Culinary Consultant