A humble dish with noble origins Panzanella is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, red onions, cucumbers and basil which is seasoned with olive oil, salt and vinegar. Some believe the tasty summer dish was born on the farms by peasants who would soak leftover bread with seasonal vegetables from the land, while others associated its origin to fishermen who would use sea water to moisten dry bread, creating a tasty carb for their vegetables.
Recipe by Jamie Oliver
- 200 g bread (preferably stale)
- 600 g ripe mixed tomatoes, roughly chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion, peeled and very finely sliced
- 8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely sliced (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- a bunch of fresh basil
- Tear the bread into rough 3cm pieces and place on a tray. Leave aside in a warm place for around 30 minutes – this helps to dry it out.
- Place the tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the onion, bread, and anchovies, if using.
- Toss the mixture together with your hands, then stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar and about 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil.
- Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil, if needed.
- Tear in the basil leaves, stir together and serve.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil