Summer is here and that means salad season! We decided to kick off with this fresh panzanella salad – the ultimate celebration of glorious sun-ripened tomatoes.
Commission your day-old ciabatta or any respectable bread that is needing a greater purpose in life, to soak up all the tasty tomato juices and dressing. Although not a part of the original recipe, our classic Basil Pesto does give this substantial salad an edge.
Panzanella can stand alone as a light meal, but it does loves to hang out with anything off the braai grill, especially fish 🙂 Now close your eyes, take a sip of white wine and imagine you’re in Tuscany.
You will need
400 g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, or more to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/2 jar Pesto Princess Basil Pesto
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (optional)
± 1/2 leftover Ciabatta bread, preferably a day old, torn into bite-size chunks
Small bunch of fresh basil thinly sliced, or roughly torn (optional)
1. Combine the halved tomatoes, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper together in a bowl until well-mixed. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the flavours combine, about 20 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes get their juices flowing, combine a 1/4 of the olive oil with the Pesto Princess Basil Pesto and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Tumble the roughly torn pieces of bread into the pesto-oil bath and toss until evenly combined.
3. Use a heavy based pan and heat the oil until medium hot before toasting the bread until you have crispy, crunchy, golden nuggets (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to the tomato base.
4. Just before serving, toss the bread cubes into the tomato base, add fresh basil and season to taste and consume immediately. Panzanella that is allowed to loiter tends to get overly soggy.
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2017
Simonsig Wine Estate was amongst the first bottlers of an Estate Chenin Blanc way back when. Chenin Blanc is the most planted wine grape in South Africa. Our Chenin vineyards are six times the size of France’s. This is a very versatile grape and will make anything from brandy, sherry type wines, bubbles and this sublime dry white wine.
Looks like Brilliant Burgundy-shaped bottle with glass embossing on the front and back and under screw cap. Very elegant new look label. In the glass, crystal-clear pale straw colour with lime green flashes.
Smells like A mélange of tropical fruits, very beguiling.
It tastes like Full flavours of guava and piel de sabo melon. Lovely citrus thread running through it. A wine that over delivers in every respect – great bang for your buck.