STALE BREAD SHOULD NEVER GO TO WASTE AGAIN! Panzanella is a Tuscan summer specialty based on bread and tomatoes – and it’s absolutely delicious! It’s a very healthy meal, full of fresh ingredients, low in calories and rich in nutrients.
Just the process of making it will make you feel like an Italian God/ess, as the aromas and colors fill the plate.
I’ve found inspiration for this recipe in the River Cottage VEG Cookbook by a man with a very complicated last name, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Panzanella with Tomatoes, Olives & Basil
20 minutes (skip this if in a hurry)
TAKE THE RIPEST TOMATOES (leaving 2 untouched for now) and crush them in a bowl using your hands. Still using your hands, separate the skin and seeds from the tomato pulp and juice by squeezing the tomatoes through a sieve. This can take about 10 minutes of work with your hands - and will end up creating a thick tomato sauce.
Savor the softness of your hands afterwards, tomatoes are great for the skin.
ONCE THE TOMATO SAUCE IS DONE, tear bite sized chunks of your stale bread and add them to the same bowl. Add olive oil and vinegar, stir well.
ADD CUCUMBER, BASIL, black olives and onion. Cut up the leftover untouched tomatoes and add them too.
ADD SALT & PEPPER, then stir again and let the flavor mix for about 20 minutes. This step can be skipped if you are in a hurry, but don't if you're not - the infusion of the flavors is what will make the Panzanella taste truly divine.
I sometimes add just a few bits of grated old goat's cheese on top - but even without it, the flavors are absolutely spectacular.