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Panzanella Salad Picnic Perfection

Panzanella really is a wonderful frugal route to Picnic Perfection, stale bread and beautiful ripe tomatoes make this Italian classic salad a must make!

As a Brit I am almost obligated to point out that a Panzanella Salad is the second best way to use up older ‘stale’ bread, naturally the best way is of course bread and butter pudding… But you are pretty hard pushed to enjoy a bread and butter pudding on a summers day on a picnic, a panzanella salad on the other hand is a completely different matter, it is perfect for a picnic. This recipe joins a few other picnic recipes this year and there will definitely by more to come, not least because it is an excuse to whisk my wife away to a spa or our local lake.

A panzanella is a simple dish and like all other simple dishes there is nowhere to hide, so do not skimp on ingredients, you need great tomatoes, great bread, great oil, great anchovies… Can you see where I am going with this?

This recipe was very much a step into the unknown for me, aside from filling my belly everything I cook is aimed at making my wife smile, despite all the bumph and bluster I am a great big softy really, well I am when it comes to my wife… So why was this recipe a step into the unknown, well she does not like tomatoes! I’ve always loved cooking and when we first met *mumble* years ago I figured I would impress her with my cooking skills, when I was asked what she liked and didn’t I got a bizarre list, however the first thing on that list was tomatoes. It went something along the lines of I don’t like tomatoes, well I don’t like raw tomatoes but I like cooked tomatoes, but I don’t like tomato soup, I don’t like tomato pasta sauce either, but I like tomatoes in bolognese. I have not even scratched the surface on liking pasta and not noodles and not liking onions in anything, teeheee, you can however amuse yourself in the knowledge that I am likely to get a clip round the ear when Julie reads this. So anyway, this panzanella salad was an up hill sell, but she loved it, apparently the tomatoes are not squidgy like raw tomatoes usually are and the flavours are all ‘zingy and dancing around in your mouth after’. So a big hit, she would definitely have let me know if it wasn’t!

Panzanella really is a wonderful frugal route to Picnic Perfection, stale bread and beautiful ripe tomatoes make this Italian classic salad a must make!
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Panzanella Salad Picnic Perfection

Panzanella really is a wonderful frugal route to Picnic Perfection, stale bread and beautiful ripe tomatoes make this Italian classic salad a must make!

Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Author Brian Jones

Ingredients

  • 175 g Crusty Bread. 2-3 days old and torn in to bite size chunks.
  • 1 Yellow Pepper. You can of course use different colours, or if you want to be lazy use ready roasted peppers from a jar.
  • 400 g Tomatoes. Use a mix, we grow loads of types but you want some large tomatoes with lots of seeds and some cherry tomatoes.
  • 75 g Red Onion.
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt.
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets. Finely chopped.
  • 25 g Capers. Roughly chopped.
  • 50 ml Olive Oil.
  • 25 ml White Wine Vinegar.
  • 1 Clove Garlic. Use a small one and mash.
  • 1 Bunch Basil. Roughly torn.

Instructions

  1. If roasting your own pepper heat your oven to 200ยฐC and roast your pepper for 45 minutes.

  2. Thinly slice your red onions and soak in cold water for 10 minutes, this helps to reduce the harshness of the onions.

  3. Cut your large tomatoes into large bite size chunks and your cherry tomatoes into half.

  4. Place the tomatoes into a colander and mix in the coarse sea salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes over a pan.

  5. When your pepper is roasted, stick it in a pan or bowl and cover with cling film and allow to steam in it's own heat.

  6. Mix together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, capers, anchovies and garlic and set aside.

  7. Now squeeze out the liquid from the tomatoes using your hands and add to the dressing in stage 6.

  8. When cooled remove the skin from the pepper and tear in to long strips.

  9. An hour or so before serving we can build our salad, add the onions, tomatoes and peppers to a bowl with the stale bread and add the dressing.

  10. Just before serving toss through the torn basil.

Recipe Notes

Ideal sitting time for this recipe is between an hour and three but you can prepare all the ingredients a couple of days before and then throw together later.

Panzanella really is a wonderful frugal route to Picnic Perfection, stale bread and beautiful ripe tomatoes make this Italian classic salad a must make!
Panzanella really is a wonderful frugal route to Picnic Perfection, stale bread and beautiful ripe tomatoes make this Italian classic salad a must make!
2017-07-14T05:37:50+00:00

12 Comments

  1. Laura July 14, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    I am so glad your wife loved the salad. The quality of the tomatoes is so important. I am Italian and I couldn’t have a summer without panzanella. I love English food, but yes, I can skip the pudding now

    • Brian Jones July 14, 2017 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Haha, how about we just say we use stale bread for panzanella in summer when the tomatoes are at their best and gor for pudding in the winter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. rika July 14, 2017 at 7:19 am - Reply

    I have never had Panzanella salad. I’ve seen it online, i am sure this recipe tastes good.

    • Brian Jones July 14, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

      It really does you should definitely give this a try!

  3. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry July 14, 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I love this salad but you never see it on a menu very often. Now I can make it myself!

    • Brian Jones July 14, 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

      You certainly can, it is really simple too ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Vicky @ Avocado Pesto July 14, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Tomatoes are my all time favorite veggie! So sad your wife doesn’t like them but perhaps she’s coming around! Heirloom tomatoes literally make my day in the summer! Love the sound of this salad – I’ve actually never made panzanella or bread and butter pudding : //

    • Brian Jones July 14, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

      I’m definitely making in roads with tomato appreciation, it only took 12 years ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  5. Jacqueline Meldrum July 14, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

    That does look like perfection and I could easily dip into that right now!

    • Brian Jones July 15, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Thanks Jacqueline, a simple treat but magical ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Patricia Green July 31, 2017 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Sounds delicious. I would like to make this for a vegetarian who does not eat anchovies, any suggestions for a substitute please?

    • Brian Jones July 31, 2017 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Hi Patricia… I have heard of a number of subs for anchovies although have not tried them, to be honest I would personally omit and rebalance the seasoning with salt and capers, you could add some brined olives into the mix, I personally do not like olives so give them a wide birth but think they would work well here if your friend likes them.

      Have fun, it really is a lovely simple recipe.

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