When bread loses its freshness, whizzing it up for breadcrumbs or toasting it are always good options, but if you have some tomatoes and cucumber handy – both of which are packed with vitamins and minerals – you can make this simple panzanella.
It works best with very ripe tomatoes and dense bread with a crunchy crust, such as sourdough or ciabatta, and you’re going for the rustic vibe so feel free to be haphazard with the chopping and ripping. We prefer to toast the bread but it’s OK to skip this step.
The following serves 4-6 as a side and is best made 15 minutes before serving so the bread soaks up some dressing.
You will need
- 1/2 breadstick (1-4 days old)
- 500g ripe tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/2 bunch basil
- Optional 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Other optional extras – salted capers (rinsed), anchovies, roasted capsicum
- Salt and cracked pepper
For the dressing:
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, bruised
What you do
If toasting the bread, chop or rip into pieces, put on tray and toast at 180℃ for 10 minutes or until lightly coloured. Put the red onion (if using) in a bowl and cover with cold water. Combine olive oil, vinegar and bruised garlic clove in a small bowl or jar.
Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into large chunks and combine in a bowl or on a platter with other optional ingredients, if using. Tear over the basil leaves. When the bread is done, drain the onion and capers (if using) and add those and the bread to the salad. Remove garlic clove from dressing, pour over the salad, season well with salt and cracked pepper and toss to combine.