This salad brings back many wonderful memories from our recent trip to Sicily. Returning back to winter and the cold weather, I started to reminisce of the beautiful tomatoes that were so abundant, sweet, juicy and inexpensive. The many markets that we visited were full of stalls selling many different varieties. Panzanella is a wonderful Tuscan bread salad. If you have some stale leftover bread this salad is a great way to use it up. It is simple to make and can be eaten just on it’s own or you can serve it to accompany grilled meat.
1/2 Loaf of Stale Crusty Bread
1 kg Cherry Tomatoes
1 Spanish Onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 bunch of Basil Leaves (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 Lemons (Medium)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
In a large serving bowl prepare the bread by braking it into small pieces or neatly cutting it into cubes. If you are using large tomatoes dice them into cubes. For this dish I used cherry tomatoes and I cut them in half. Add the sliced onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Combine and mix all the ingredients well using your hands. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. This allows the bread to moisten and the flavours to infuse.
Remove the salad from the fridge and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Add the basil leaves and mix well. If the salad appears a little dry just add a little more olive oil to give the salad more gloss.