Panzanella salad (Tuscan chopped salad of typically soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes) is one of my favourite things to eat in the warmer months of the year.
The variations are endless and hence this post is more of a description of the method than a recipe per se. You can vary what bread you use, what fat you toast it in, how you toast it, whether you add spices or herbs to the bread… and that’s just one component in the salad!
When I make a panzanella a few things are constant though:
– Some kind of vinaigrette
– I toast the bread in the oven
– I pretty much always include tomatoes
I thought it was kinda pointless to give amounts for a salad so I only give amounts for things like the vinaigrette. And of course as mentioned before, this example is just one variation I made the same day I wrote this post.
Ingredients for Panzanella Salad:
Carrots, coarsely grated
Marjoram, fresh, chopped
Hard goats cheese, diced
Bread (a bit stale is fine)
Extra virgin olive oil
White vine vinegar (preferably Champagne vinegar)
How to make Panzanella Salad:
Start by toasting of the bread. Cut or tear the bread into pieces maybe 4 cm big, or whatever you want. Toss with olive oil in a roasting pan, until nicely coated with oil. Also smash a few garlic cloves with your knife and throw into the pan as well. Toast in a 200C oven and toss the bread in the pan every so often until uniformly nicely toasted.
You can also do this under the grill in the oven, which is a lot faster but also requires more attention.
Once bread is nicely toasted, move to a tray lined with kitchen towel to get rid of some of the oil. Reserve.
Toast of the pine nuts as well on a sheet-tray, lightly salt. Keep attention on them as they burn very easily. You want them lightly roasted, golden brown.
Next make the vinaigrette; in a medium bowl – mix about 1 small teaspoon of Dijon mustard with a big pinch of salt, some finely milled fresh black pepper, 1 small teaspoon of honey and 60 ml of vinegar. Also add 1 glove of garlic crushed, I prefer to use a fine Microplane and grate the garlic instead of crushing it but either will work. Whisk this until all combined.
Make sure the bowl is secure (a damp tea-towel around the base of the bowl works great) then start drizzling in 60 ml olive oil while whisking constantly, next do the same again with 60 ml extra virgin olive oil and finally the same again with 60 ml olive oil again. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust with oil if it’s too acidic, vinegar if it’s not acidic enough and salt if it’s not salty enough.
Preferably store the vinaigrette in a squeezy bottle for easy application and easy storage in the fridge (this recipe makes way more than you need for this one dish).
But your tomatoes and carrots in a bowl and douse with vinegar and season with some salt, add the chopped marjoram and mix properly. Depending on how you want the bread to be (soaked or crispy) you can add the bread to the carrots and tomatoes too.
Add your salad leaves to the serving bowls and dress lightly with some more vinaigrette. Add the carrots and tomatoes to the serving plates, scatter over bread, capers, cheese, toasted pine nuts. Drizzle a touch of vinaigrette on top. Enjoy!