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!