Panzanella x caprese salad
PANZANELLA X CAPRESE SALAD
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This is a cross between two classic Italian salads – panzanella and caprese. Italians waste nothing and this recipe is a great use for stale bread. I find it the perfect summertime side dish with grilled fish. Try to find a mixture of different varieties and colours of tomatoes – large, small, cherry, roma, heirloom, grape – as this adds flavour and texture.
You can prepare this ahead of time but add the bread at the last minute so it doesn’t become soggy.
1/2 loaf day-old bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup (about 1/2 bunch) oregano leaves
600 g tomatoes (mixture of colours and varieties), halved or quartered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup drained capers
1 cup (about 1 bunch) basil leaves
180 g large bocconcini balls (fresh baby mozzarella cheese, available from supermarkets)
Preheat the grill to high. Tear the bread into large 2 cm chunks and throw onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and crush the garlic over the top. Sprinkle with the oregano leaves. Toss the bread until well coated. Place the tray under the grill for 5 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Keep a close eye on it as it burns quickly. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes. (Salting tomatoes accentuates the balance of sweetness and acidity and brings out their flavour.)
Toss the tomatoes with the remaining oil, balsamic and capers, and scrunch together with your hands.
Tear the basil leaves and bocconcini balls and toss through with the cooled bread. Serve immediately.