I love making summer salads and this last week has been no exception! Again I bought what I thought looked especially good at the market and day by day when it came to meal time, decided what to do with it all. As well as fruit and vegetables I always take home one of our French buckwheat loaves of bread and, when I remember to get there before she sells out, another buckwheat loaf from Yeshe, The Midnight Baker. Our French one is like a rustic country loaf and Yeshe’s is a dense loaf made with buckwheat flour and lots of different seeds. We love both!! After a few days there’s often a bit left and I hate wasting them because both are so good. I turned the last three slices of our French loaf until a yummy Italian Panzanella salad. I’ve made it many times in the past and suddenly remembered it again. Eat it as a light meal for lunch or have it as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or meat.
3-4 thick slices of rustic bread, crusts on, cut into cubes
1 small red or pink onion, very finely sliced and soaked in iced water for about 30 minutes to reduce the strength
1-2 red and/or yellow pepper, deseeded, roasted, peeled and sliced
A few different heirloom tomatoes cut into chunks, lightly salted and left to drain in a sieve resting over a bowl
½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded, halved and sliced
1 tbsp capers
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6-8 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
2 tbsps sherry vinegar
Good handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
Freshly ground black pepper
Firstly prepare the vegetables as above.
Place the bread cubes in a bowl and sprinkle over the vinegars and add the capers. Next add the onions, peppers and cucumbers. Gently squeeze the tomatoes while they’re still in the sieve and then add them to the bread.
Keep the tomato water and to that add the anchovies, garlic, pepper and 6 tbsps of olive oil. Whisk together well. Pour this over the salad and add most of the torn basil leaves. Mix everything gently together using your hands. Drizzle over more olive oil if you think it needs it. Leave at room temperature for 15-60 minutes so that all the flavours meld together. Add a few more basil leaves before serving and another drizzle of oil if you like.