Trying to choose a name for this salad I did some online research in an attempt to discover what a ‘classic’ Panzanella salad consists of. Some included mozzarella, some not. Some had cucumber and some had olives. I don’t have complete clarity on the issue, but with all things in cooking, just trust your instincts and just make what you like.
My version is a chopped up Caprese salad mixed up with golden chunks of fried bread and finely sliced red onion and its utterly delicious.
This sort of salad is my ultimate kind of lunch. I could probably eat it every day never get bored. The flavours are bold and marry so perfectly together. Its summer on a plate and party in your mouth.
There are a few things I do that I think make a difference to the success of such a salad:
1. I always ripen my tomatoes out of the fridge. I sometimes put them in the sun or a sunny spot in my kitchen and I don’t mind one bit if they start to wrinkle. This tells me that they are at their peak in terms of ripening, and it is only at this point that I may put them in my fridge to stop this process and preserve them a little longer. The result is a very juicy and sweeter tomato that is perfect for this salad.
2. I love to use a good artisan loaf of bread. My preference would be sourdough or in this case a sourdough rye. I want the bread for this salad to have some bite and texture to it. A pre-sliced and processed loaf would be completely out the question. I like to cut the bread rind off and only use the inner part.
3. The dressing is so simple and only consists of two ingredients, so I choose a really good quality red wine vinegar and the best extra virgin olive oil I can find in my cupboard.
3. I love the crunchy taste of a natural sea salt flakes and this is a crucial element to the dish. Don’t be shy with it.
4. As for mozzarella, do I need to even mention that a proper fior di latte is the only way forward here. Soft and silky, it balances out the sharpness of the tomatoes and onions.
5. Garlic. I do love it but there are times when I simply don’t feel like its intense presence or having garlic breath. I think 1/4 or 1/2 a clove would be wonderful in this salad, but on this occasion I left it out.
I don’t have accurate measurements for this salad, just make however much you want.
for the salad:
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