Tangy Panzanella Salad

panzanella-the-food-placeDespite the cold snap of weather we are having, better weather is on its way 🙂 (promise!) The lighter the days get the more I enjoy a nice tangy and fresh salad. This salad lends itself to a mix of tomatoes types – cherry, plum, yellow, vine etc. The addition of cubes of stale sourdough bread (or any uncut bread you have) make this more filling – this is a bit of grown-up salad! With origins in Tuscany, Italy the salad was created like most great, rustic dishes to avoid waste and is a typical peasant dish. If that makes me a peasant – I’m happy to be!

1kg fresh tomatoes – get a mixture of what’s in season
1x shallot – very finely sliced (or small red onion)
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x tbsp white or red wine vinegar
200/300g x stale sourdough or focaccia (any uncut thick bread will do)
A handful of fresh basil leaves
1 -2 x tsp dried oregano
A handful of black olives
100ml x extra virgin Greek olive oil
2 x tsp x Dijon mustard
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper

Peel and crush the garlic. Finely slice the shallot or red onion.
Add the garlic & onions into a bowl. Add the white wine vinegar, oregano and dijon mustard and whisk to make sure the onion and garlic are coated. Set aside.
Chop all the tomatoes into decent size chunks and put them into a colander and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Leave to sit for 15 mins, this should mean that the salt will draw any excess liquid out of the tomatoes.
Tear or slice the bread into rough 1-2cm cubes. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the cubes of bread and toss in the oil. You want the bread nicely toasted so keep tossing regularly, until turning golden brown. Add black pepper and toss a few more times. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put your drained tomatoes into a nice decorative salad bowl. Now tear the basil leaves and add them to the drained tomatoes and stir through. Add in the black olives.
Gradually add the olive oil to the onion, garlic, oregano, vinegar and mustard mixture, stirring until you have a lovely dressing.
Add your toasted bread to the tomatoes and then add the dressing, combining everything equally. 
Leave for 10-15 mins for all the flavours to marinate before serving. This is great as a side dish for a light lunch.




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