Pack Panzanella for your next picnic
There can be many variations to a panzanella recipe. Traditional recipes see purely tomatoes and bread take to the mix, while more contemporary versions feature cucumber, capsicum, capers and anchovies. You could also use cooked chorizo or olives to add more indulgent flavours, while crisp cucumber and capsicum freshen the meal to a summery lightness.
1 kg mixed tomatoes
1 red onion
1 bunch fresh basil
1 loaf sourdough, cut into rough cubes
1 clove garlic, crushed
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Tear or cut the sourdough into bite-sized chunks and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven until browned and crisp (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, rinse the basil in cold water and gently pat away the water droplets with a tea towel, before picking the leaves from the stem. You’ll need about 1 cup of basil leaves.
Gather together your tomatoes to chop into small pieces. We like to use a mix of small red and black cherry tomatoes, yellow grape tomatoes and larger truss or roma tomatoes. Smaller tomatoes embody great presentation and mean you can use all different colours, while larger tomatoes provide more juice for the bread to soak in. Too much juice, though, and the bread will turn to mush.
Finely slice the red onion and place in a large bowl along with the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss together.
In a jar, add two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, six tablespoons and the crushed garlic, and shake until mixed. Add the baked bread to the bowl of tomatoes and pour over your dressing. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and add a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Add basil leaves and toss until well mixed.
Spoon the panzanella into jars with lids, pack into your picnic basket with some forks and head down to the river to soak up some summer breezes over lunch.
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