Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Salad of the Summer...

Goes to - Panzanella!

 Tomatoes from Cossano Belbo in Piedmont
Over the last couple of months I have been making panzanella at every given opportunity. This summer salad originates from Tuscany and combines stale bread (a perfect way to use it up) with the tastiest tomatoes, basil and cucumber in an olive oil and wine vinegar dressing. As with many recipes there are lots of variations so this recipe is a mere starting point for salad explorations.

If you are in London and want to try one of the best panzanella salads around then to head to Spuntino quickly, while they still have heritage tomatoes that will change your life or at least bring a smile to your face.

This serves roughly 4 people.

1 garlic clove, sliced in half
left over bread, country style such as ciabatta, torn into bite size pieces
6-8 ripe heritage tomatoes, chopped into pieces
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped into pieces
2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
80ml olive oil
2-3 tbsp wine vinegar
salt & pepper

I like to toast the torn up bread under the grill for several minutes. Some recipes tell you to moisten the bread with water which is another option before adding the bread to the salad.

Rub the garlic around your serving bowl and add the tomato pieces and cucumber. Add the basil to the bowl along with the bread.

Make the dressing and add to the salad, leaving it to flavour the ingredients for 15-20 minutes before serving. Add salt, pepper and additional vinegar if you wish.

Close your eyes and pretend you're on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.


Perfect summer grub!

Have you tried tomatoes on toast? It's recipe nicked from some Italy-going friends. My partner loves it. Whizz up tomatoes, olive and S+P in a blender for a few secs until smooth. Make good crispy toast (again stale bread works well). Rub a little raw garlic over the toast and, after about 10 minutes, spread the tomatoes on. The idea is that the (preferable good ripe) tomatoes will naturally thicken up. You can add some marjoram or basil on there. Brills for breakfast x

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