PanzaNELLA!

Moodily lit , gently washed veggies, posed for your pleasure.
Moodily lit , gently washed veggies, posed for your pleasure.

Weekends = brunch. Brunch with friends this past weekend was an at home affair of hastily cooked scrambled eggs, value-pack sausages, caramelized onions, white buttom mushrooms (ok this was legit) and lots of leftover fancy-ish baguette from Marche.

Now what does one do with half a baguette. Eat it all with a big hunk of melty butter?

Tempting, yes, BUT being the culinary overachiever I am/compulsive creative food finisher, I decided to make Panzanella, an Italian bread based salad that was inspired by my flatmate, Mel’s mention of how good the dish was when she had visited Sopra.

I didn’t get to got to Sopra that one time because I was probably vegetating at home. Still the fact that I missed out on this bready wonder, really bothered me.

These baguette remnants was my chance at redemption, absolution.

And a carb party FOR ONE!

Serves 2 (haha) – read the recipe all the way through, it takes about an hour and a half to make

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
olive oil – enough for drizzling the peppers with to bake
extra virgin olive oil – enough for the salad dressing
2 medium sized tomatoes
large green pitted olives, as much as you want
capers, as much as you want
1/2 baguette loaf/bread of your choice
1 1/2 tbsps red wine vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
large handful of fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Drizzle a splash of olive oil over the peppers and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers are softened but not charred.

Place them in a bowl and cover with cling film for about 20 minutes.

Blanch the tomatoes by plunging them into a saucepan/jug of boiling water for one minute, or until the skins start to peel away.

Take out the tomatoes with a spoon that has holes and dunk into a bowl of cold water.

Once cool, the skins should easily peel away easily – it did for me!

Cut the skinned tomatoes into eighths.

Remove the seeds and push the seeds through a sieve over a bowl to extract the juice.

Put the tomato eighths into the bowl you intend to serve the salad in.

Peel back the cling film and gently peel the skin from the peppers. If this is difficult or the skin does not come away easily, it means you haven’t roasted them long enough. Discard the seeds from the peppers. Cut the flesh into large strips and put in the bowl with the tomatoes.

Mix the olives and capers with the tomatoes and peppers.

Rip the bread into large chunks and put aside.

Mix the vinegar, garlic and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the tomato juice. Use as much oil as you think is necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.

Add the bread pieces to the bowl and leave for at least an hour so that the bread soaks up all the juice.

After an hour mix the ciabatta with the tomatoes and peppers. Tear in the basil leaves and using your hands gently combine all the ingredients.

It’s ready to eat!

* Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit and BBC.

You now know why I chose the other shot as the first photo...
You now know why I chose the other shot as the first photo…
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