What is Panzanella? Well I'm married to an Italian and he hadn't heard of it. Panzanella is a regional peasant dish that used up any stale bread with the tomato crop. A Tuscan feast of hearty bread, tomato, vegetables of choice (particularly onion) and herbs. Seasoned, tossed and served under the Mediterranean sun. Opt for a sturdy bread, not your floury farmhouse as it won't soak up all those vegetable juices whilst staying firm. I have used sourdough in this recipe because it bakes to a lovely crisp consistency and has a lovely flavour.
This is my version of panzanella. It includes my favourite vegetables but you can choose the best mix for you. I also added mozzarella but if you are vegan simply leave the cheese out. Instead of plain bread I salted and baked the chunks in the oven as I love the bite, even after soaked with the juicy flavours.
Small sourdough loaf
1 large red onion sliced.
2 courgettes cubed
1 aubergine cubed
2 peppers chunked
1 ball of mozzarella
1 handful of fresh basil
Sounds good to me:
- Preheat your oven 180C.
- Cut your sourdough into cubes about 1.5 inches . Mine were a little chunky for this dish and I had to resort to picking them up. Place them on a baking tray, season and sprinkle some olive oil over the top.
- Place your bread cubes in the oven for about 20 minutes, remove and leave to cool.
- Spread your courgettes, aubergine, onion and peppers onto a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season. Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove your vegetables and place in a large serving dish.
- Mix in the sourdough cubes and diced mozzarella.
- Sprinkle fresh basil on top and serve.