As described in Wikipedia, Panzanella, or Panmolle, is a Florentine salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy.
Now my Panzanella is a little different. I use fresh bread, as I love the contrasting taste of crunchy crust and the softness of the dough, which is further emphasized by the oil and lemon dressing.
I use lemon not vinegar in my Panzanella, and some other fabulous ingredients, that make for a meal in itself. If you are consuming this in the evening, a glass of chilled white wine is a wonderful accompaniment.
Here is my mouthwatering version – tried, tested and loved many a time over the years !
You will need a crunchy Italian loaf, a fresh baguette, or ciabatta bread for this recipe. Cut into slices or portions in readiness for the tomato and garlic topping.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BREAD TOMATO AND GARLIC TOPPING
- 4 medium ripe zenguli/plum tomatoes or 12 ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a swig of extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
Place the ingredients in a liquidizer, and process until thick and smooth. Now using the back of a dessert spoon, spread the mixture onto your bread.
Drizzle some olive oil on top of each piece, add some more salt if you wish, and then cut into one inch squares. Cover and go and make the salad. For this you will need :-
- 2-3 inches of cucumber, chopped
- 1 small/medium red onion, chopped
- 6 chopped black olives (use the salted ones for these)
- a handful of rocket, chopped
- 10 or so fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ½ small red pepper
- a handful of flat leaf parsley
- a handful of chopped butter lettuce
Place the ingredients in a bowl, having chopped them up, and prepare your dressing.
INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING
- juice of one lemon
- the same amount in extra virgin olive oil (just a tiny bit less)
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- salt to taste
Place the ingredients in a jam jar, close tightly, shake and place in a jug in readiness for pouring onto your salad.
Place the bread in the salad, toss slightly, and gently pour the lemon dressing around the edges and centre of your bowl to ensure you reach all the ingredients. Toss again, serve and consume immediately.
Bon Appétit !
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