Panzanella, or bread salad to you and me, is a satisfying salad originally made by the poor in central Italy, using cheap ingredients. The bread soaks up the mix of flavours and therefore it is important to use a more resilient bread, not your standard supermarket white. The bread should be moist but not soggy, and that is the secret to a good panzanella.
1 clove of garlic
2/3 good quality anchovy fillets
1 1/2 tbsp capers 1 yellow pepper sliced into thin lengthways pieces
125g good bread, as described
3 ripe tomatoes
A third of a cucumber, sliced
1/2 red onion sliced
1 chicory sliced
3/4 olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Turn on the grill to a medium/high heat.
Place the capers, garlic and anchovies in a pestle and mortar and mash. You can always do this in a bowl with a spoon if you don't have a pestle and mortar.
Transfer this mixture into a large salad bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Combine and then add the yellow pepper, stir until all pieces are covered in the dressing and put to one side.
Take the crusts off the bread, keeping the crumbs and grill until all pieces are nicely toasted. This will help the bread retain it's firmness when combined with the tomatoes and dressing. Cut roughly into 1cm squares.
Puree two of the tomatoes and pour over the bread. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes with a little salt. Meanwhile, chop up the other tomato and add to the salad bowl.
Combine the remaining ingredients, the cucumber, onion and chicory, in the salad bowl. Finally add the soaked bread squares, toss thoroughly and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately and enjoy!