I am obsessed with bread. Crunchy sourdough dipped in olive oil is my idea of heaven. So... in the interest of balance I put together a salad and bread combo. Because, yes.
In full disclosure, this is totally not my original idea. Panzanella salad is a Tuscan recipe that has been recreated many times. But for you my friends, I have decided it share once again. It's the perfect salad for a summer BBQ or a beach picnic. Enjoy xx
The Ultimate Summer Panzanella Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side salad
1/2 loaf of rustic ciabatta, sourdough or another good quality loaf of bread, chopped into 2 cm croutons (about 3 cups) This also works beautifully with stale bread.
5 roma tomatoes, quartered (or 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, if you like).
1 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 red capsicum, sliced into 2cm chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small fennel, finely shaved (with a mandolin or sharp knife)
2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced into half moons or chunks
150g baby spinach leaves, washed
2 tbs pepitas
2 tbs sunflower seeds
Dressing (ps I prefer balsamic in this but traditionally it has red wine vinegar, you choose!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line two baking tray with baking paper. Place the bread cubes on one tray and the capsicum, tomatoes and red onion on the other. Season both trays generously salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil evenly over the ingredients. Use your hands to coat the bread and the veggies in the olive oil. Place both in the oven. Bake the bread for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Remove. Continue cooking the veggies until soft and the onion is caramelised. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, in a big salad bowl combine the baby spinach leaves, basil, cucumber, cucumbers and fennel. Toss to combine. Set aside.
To create the dressing, combine the ingredients in a small jug and whisk with a fork or in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar until combined. Set aside.
To assemble the salad add the roast veggies and bread to the spinach mixture (leave a few crunchy croutons aside). Pour over the dressing (start with half and taste to decide if you'd like more) a few minutes prior to serving. Toss to coat the ingredients generously. Finish the salad by topping with some crunchy croutons, pepitas and sunflower seeds. Drizzle generously with olive oil, if needed.
Dig in and marvel at the crunchy olive oil soaked bread... because THAT's what this recipe is ALL about.