Panzanella Recipe

Perfect for a summertime lunch, this is a classic, rustic Tuscan recipe.

  • COOK 15-20 mins
  • LEVEL easy
  • BATCH Serves 7

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, peeled and very finely sliced into rings
  • 6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large yellow or red bell pepper
  • 200g (6½oz) day-old rustic bread
  • 500g (1lb) ripe tomatoes, ideally in assorted shapes and colours (such as red, yellow, purple)
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed (optional)
  • 1 tsp capers, rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • A generous handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

  1. First, lightly pickle the onion rings. Place them in a colander and pour over freshly boiled water. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the white wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over 150ml (5fl oz) water and mix together. Set aside for 1 hour, then drain and dry the pickled onion rings on paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, grill the bell pepper under a medium heat until it’s charred on all sides. Place in a plastic bag and set aside to cool (trapping the steam will make the pepper easier to peel). Use a sharp knife to peel the pepper, then cut the flesh into short, thick strips. 
  3. Trim and discard the crusts from the dry rustic bread and slice into small, neat cubes. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, or in half if you’re using small cherry tomatoes.
  4. Make a dressing by mixing together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic (if using) and capers. Season with salt and pepper, bearing in mind that the capers will already be quite salty.
  5. Mix together the chopped tomatoes, bread cubes and roasted pepper strips in a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss together, ensuring all the ingredients are well coated. Add the pickled onion rings, then the basil leaves. Mix well and set aside for 15–20 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.

Recipe taken from The Mediterranean Table (£19.99, Ryland Peters & Small, ryland peters.com).