Summer Tomato Panzanella
Recently blogged about by Two Spoons and Good Food in a Crap Kitchen, panzanella is a delicious bread salad. Traditionally, it consists of nothing but tomatoes, basil, oil, and bread soaked in a little water. However, modern interpretations tend to involve a dressing which usually combines herbs for fragrance, capers or anchovies for saltiness, and balsamic vinegar for a sweet tang. Combine these classic flavours with the fresh sweet-sour of summer ripened tomatoes, and you've got heaven in a bowl.
You want to use good quality day old bread for this. Something with a good chew to it (like a ciabatta or sourdough) is important - it is soaked briefly in water, and squeezed out. The result isn't mushy at all. It is soft and delicious, and pairs beautifully with the texture of ripe tomatoes.
Try and pick a range of tomatoes too, like plum, cherry and cocktail tomatoes, and cut them in different ways. Doing this results in a range of textures and flavours which is amazingly important. It's surprising how different the experience of popping a whole cherry tomato into your mouth can be compared to a wedge of vine ripened plum tomato, or a slice of a small cocktail tomato.
To finish, I topped it all off with a drizzle of my balsamic reduction. The sweet-sour of this reduction is like the deliciousness of balsamic vinegar, but multiplied by about 100, and the perfect match to tomatoes.
- 1T capers
- A small bunch of italian parsley
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1t mustard (I used a wholegrain mustard I had in the fridge)
- A good glug of olive oil
- A combination of tomatoes, more or less depending on the types you use - I used 2 plum tomatoes, about 6 cocktail tomatoes, and a 1/2c cherry tomatoes
- Small bunch of basil
- 2 thick slices of crusty day-old bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the dressing - combine the capers, parsley, garlic, mustard and olive oil in a small food processor, and blend until smooth.
Then chop up all your tomatoes into different shapes and sizes - wedges, slices, etc.
Cut the bread into 1.5cm cubes. Put it into a bowl and add just enough water to moisten. Let it sit for a couple of minutes while you combine the tomatoes, dressing, and basil in another bowl.
Gently squeeze the water out of the bread, and toss to combine with the tomato mixture. Taste the salad, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.