Herby Panzanella Salad
June 19, 2020
Nothing says summer like a Panzanella. For some of us, tomato season is imminent and I for one couldn’t be more excited. Whoever first considered using fresh tomatoes in this way is an absolute genius. The simplicity of this tomato salad really celebrates their natural flavour, so it’s best to get some extra special ones for this recipe. Many greengrocers and farmers’ markets will stock heritage or heirloom varieties which will really sing in this recipe.
- Yield: Serves 4 1x
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large shallot
- 2 T white wine vinegar
- 1kg fresh tomatoes
- ¾ t flaky sea salt
- 200g stale sourdough
- ¼ t ground black pepper
- 20g fresh basil
- 10g fresh oregano
- 2 t dijon mustard
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- Peel and crush the garlic. Finely slice the shallot. Place both in the largest salad bowl you have. Add the white wine vinegar and whisk to make sure the onion and garlic are coated. Set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes roughly (around 2cm pieces) and place them into a large colander or sieve. Rest the colander over the bowl of shallot and garlic. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the salt and stir to combine. The salt will draw out the juices from the tomatoes and it will drop through onto the shallot/garlic mixture. Leave for around 5 minutes.
- Break or slice the sourdough into rough 1-2cm cubes. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the cubes of sourdough and toss in the oil. Allow toasting in the pan, tossing regularly, until turning golden brown. Add the black pepper and toss a few more times. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Roughly tear the fresh herbs and stir them through the tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from on top of the shallot/garlic mixture and set aside. Add the dijon to the shallot/garlic mixture and whisk well to combine. In a slow stream, while constantly whisking, add the olive oil to complete the dressing.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and herbs to the dressing, along with the toasted sourdough and toss to dress. Leave the salad to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes minimum before serving. Enjoy!
This is a super simple salad but it’s important you follow the steps above in sequence. Here’s why:
Keywords: Panzanella Salad, Vegan
Start with the Garlic and Shallot Dressing
It might seem odd starting a salad with the dressing, but there’s a point to this. The aromatics from the garlic and shallot are essential parts of this recipe but they can easily overpower the subtlety of the tomatoes. Allowing the garlic and shallot to sit in the vinegar for a few minutes removes some of their potency and provides a much more gentle oniony vibe.
Harvest that Tomato Juice!
This recipe is all about bold tomato flavour, so there’s no way we’re going to let that juice go to waste. When we salt our tomatoes, it draws out all those juices, which we will use in our dressing. Let the juice drip through onto the shallot and garlic to add an extra tomato fresh sweetness to the dressing. Oh and the fresher your tomatoes, the juicier they’ll be – so splash out and buy some fancy boys from the farmers market!
Toast Your Sourdough (And Make Sure It’s Stale!)
The idea behind the bread in this recipe is that it provides a serious crunch but also packs a flavoursome punch. We achieve this by firstly using stale bread. All those little end pieces from your sourdough loaves which are too small to toast – keep them and use them in Panzanella! We also toast the bread, once cubed, and toss it in plenty of black pepper. This way, when it comes into contact with the dressing, it soaks up loads of flavour but doesn’t go soggy in a flash.
Dress it Good!
The last step is to whisk up the dressing with some decent extra virgin olive oil! Drizzle it over the shallots which should now be sitting nicely in tomato juice! Drizzle slowly and whisk constantly to make sure the dressing is beautifully smooth. Dress the salad and you’re good to go!