“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Tuscany, Italy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Panzanella (Tuscan bread salad)

This 'panzanella' salad is as Florentine as they come. Most Tuscan dishes derives from peasants  and there is no exception in this case.  The main ingredient in this ‘salad’ is stale bread, YES stale bread.  Never letting any food go to waste, this is a delicious way to re-invent your un-loved bread. Traditionally this dish was made solely adding onions, however during the 20th century tomatoes were introduced. Some recipes call for olives, anchovies, capers, lemon juice, however these additions are frowned upon amongst traditionalists. Maybe my addition of a cucumber might also be controversial? In any case, this is a perfect summer salad as there is no cooking required. I was salivating whilst making this from the aroma of the ripe tomatoes mixed with garlic and vinegar.  Make this ahead of time to allow flavours to intensify.
what you need (serving for four people):
three thick slices of Tuscan style bread (no salt)
two small red onions (or shallots)
large handful fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
one garlic clove
one medium size Lebanese cucumber (optional)
how to make:
1: Roughly dice the red onions and leave to soak in 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar for at least two hours
2: Chop the tomatoes roughly but remove the seeds, place in a bowl.  Remove the skin of the cucumber and chop roughly the same size as the tomatoes, add to the bowl with tomatoes.  Finely chop the garlic and mix through with the tomatoes and cucumber.  Add salt and pepper to taste, mix through.
3:  Cut three thick slices of bread, then tear roughly into the salad bowl, toss through.  Some recipes require the bread to be soaked in water, I prefer a little crunch so I do not do this. It is also important to use a dense un-salted loaf that is completley stale.
4: Finally add the vinegar soaked onions to the bowl, and hand torn basil leaves, stir through.  Mix 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar with 1/4 cup olive oil and drizzle over salad, again stir through.  Taste and add more seasoning if nessasary. Present on a large serving plate

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