I have to admit that for ages I haven't been too keen on the thought of Panzanella. Bits of stale bread in a tomato salad... errm I don't think so.
I can't really remember what it was that ultimately made me try it, I guess it must have been curiosity or lack of ideas what to have for dinner. Oh and I am soooo glad I did.
Not only is a Panzanella a great way to use up yesterday's bread, but the crunchy croutons soak up all the lovely flavours while still staying crunchy. Originally this salad only contains tomatoes and onions and possibly some cucumber but who needs to stick to originals. You can literally go crazy. We ended up adding warm asparagus, soft boiled quails eggs and buffalo mozarella. The perfect late summer dinner.
- 1/2 loaf of yesterday's bread (we used a crusty wholewheat bread), cut into chunks
- 4 large tomatoes, cut into squares (make sure to use ripe, sweet tomatoes)
- 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
- bunch of asparagus, cut into bite size chunks
- 1/3 cucumber, sliced
- two handfuls rocket
- 6 quails eggs
- 1 buffalo mozarella, torn into bite size bits
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2tbsp balsamico and a little extra to sprinkle
- dried herbs (such as thyme or oregano)
- salt and pepper to season
- Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C.
- Put the bread in a baking tray and drizzle with plenty of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. Toss (ideally using your hands) until the bread is well coated. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (tossing occasionally) until golden and crunchy.
- Add the quails eggs to a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Once done, peel, half and set aside.
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the asparagus for 5 minutes until cooked but still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large salad bowl mix, together the tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, asparagus, mozarella, bread and rocket. Add the red wine vinegar, balsamico and plenty of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands mix thoroughly, giving the ingredients a slight squeeze every now and then.
- Once well combined set aside and leave to rest for 10 minutes or so (this is optional but will definitely improve the flavour of your dish.
- Top with the quails eggs and drizzle with a little balsamico.