Panzanella salad is one of our favourite salads to have in AnotherFoodBloggers house. The delicious crusty bread, fresh herbs and juicy tomatoes - it's perfect on its own or with some grilled meat. So read on, see how I make it and check out my delicious wine paring too!
The first time I made Panzanella salad was a few years ago. Our daughter was a couple months old and we were visiting Byron Bay for a few weeks before my wife went back to work. We had the joy of some good friends tagging along to hang on the beach. Oh and help Mrs AnotherFoodBlogger with the cleaning up after me from the cooking!
I was grilling some chicken thighs for lunch and wanted to throw a nice salad together to accompany it. Truthfully, I didn't want to put a ton of effort into it as I was keener to hit the pool and drink a beer. Gotta make the most of the baby sleeping! We had some bread that was just about ok to eat and I didn't want it to go to waste. I figured let's google a Panzanella salad. Luckily I had the majority of the ingredients at hand and our friends were happy to grab the last few things on the way.
Was for 6 and a couple kids so there also needed to be enough food to go around. Panzanella salad for the win! It was perfect. So much so that my mate Chris's Dad - Jim who was visiting with his wife Margie from NZ said that if Margie could replicate it back home he would sell the farm and buy her the villa we were staying in!! Needless to say, there hasn't been a villa purchased yet so either Jim ain't good on his word or Margie knew he was spoofing from the beginning. I guess that's a whole other story though. All in all, lunch was a great success and since then I have been making this on the regular for my wife and it's only been improving in time - so much so that it's time to share it with the world!!
Before I give you the recipe I will state one thing. The 2 most important ingredients are tomatoes and bread. What's funny about this is 1 of them needs to be super fresh and the other needs to be a little old. Source the best juiciest tomatoes you can find. Get a mixture of sizes and colours to add a pop to the salad. With regards to the bread - it's best to be a few days old to work best. I've chopped mine up and thrown it in the oven to crisp up. This works just fine but having an old loaf of ciabatta or rustic sourdough definitely works best. So it's the kinda salad you can plan in advance OR unknown to you just randomly decide to make it. Assuming that is that you didn't finish that loaf of bread you bought the other day.
Steak & Panzanella Salad
As much as I like Panzanella salad on its own or even with grilled chicken you just can't beat it with some perfectly cooked rare to medium-rare steak! It is the perfect family-style meal to have and enjoy. It doesn't require a lot of cooking and everyone can just dig in. What's better than this is when you add in a classic red wine to the mix! Given I am all the way in Australia I decided to use an Aussie version of the classic Montepulciano - read on to see which one friends.
As mentioned this salad was enjoyed at lunch and what's better than lunch? Yep, that's right lunch with wine! This week we sipped on not one, not two but three bottles of Mr Riggs Montepulciano wine. Mr Riggs is a James Halliday 5 star rated winery which is a pretty amazing achievement in itself. You know when you crack open any wine from these guys we are talking about a glass of seriously good wine and this one didn't disappoint either!
Spice, tobacco, mint & meatiness line the glass. Length and power line the palate! You get all the flavours from the nose on the palate along with some cigar box, plums, cherries and fresh vanilla too. This wine is no slouch. Decant and enjoy or hideaway for a few years before cracking it open. It may seem like an odd choice for lunch but with all that juicy acidity from the tomatoes and richness from the rare beef it was a combo that knocked it out of the park!
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!
- 600 g medley of tomatoes roughly chopped
- 200 g old crusty bread roughly chopped/torn
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 8-10 anchovies chopped
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- pinch chili flakes optional
- 1 handful basil leaves torn
- Whisk the oil, vinegar and salt/pepper together and set aside.
- Add all salad ingredients EXCEPT basil to the large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 of salad dressing and stir well to combine.
- Add more dressing as required and throw in most of the basil and toss gently so as not to bruise the basil.
- Serve panzanella salad on plate or new bowl and sprinkle remaining basil on top.
- chopping board
- sharp knives
- large mixing bowl
- small mixing bowl
- measuring spoons
- its all about the tomatoes so make sure you work with the best ones you canget your hands on
- you can substitute red wine vinegar if you don't have balsamic
to bulk up the salad more feel free to add rocket or mesculin leaves
- add the salt sparingly to the salad as you will have salt from the capers & anchovies