Panzanella

I was wondering the other day how this recipe has not yet made it here. We grow our own tomatoes every summer, gorgeous heirloom varieties the likes of which you either can’t find or pay exorbitant prices for. When we are faced with an abundance of these sublime sun ripened beauties, this is the dish that I love best. The classic version needs nothing more than some crusty old bread and fresh basil {also from the garden}, along with a glug of some good olive oil. I have seen people make it with onion, capsicum, capers, and cucumber, and obviously you can add whatever you like. But I have to say I am a purist when it comes to my Panzanella, and am also more than happy to make this the whole meal.

I haven’t bothered with quantities, just use however much you have and season to taste. I also never store tomatoes in the refrigerator, so make sure before you begin that they are at room temperature.

Ingredients:

good quality heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties if possible, at room temperature

crusty bread, a day or two old is perfect

fresh basil, torn into pieces

good quality extra virgin olive oil

sea salt flakes

freshly cracked black pepper

1. Begin by drying out the bread. Cut into bite size pieces and spread out on a baking tray, and put into a low to moderate oven until they have crisped up and dried out. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

2. Cut the tomatoes into varying sizes, slices, and wedges. Put them into a shallow bowl big enough to hole the tomatoes and bread. Add the basil and toasted bread pieces. Season with the olive oil, a little salt and pepper to taste.

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