So, you remember that Tuscan saltless bread? Yep, I spent 2 days making a loaf of bread just so I could let it go stale in order to make a salad. I tried different breads, but they went soggy. I thought about croutons but that’s just not the real deal. After relishing the panzanella we made with Giulia and hearing her explanation of why it has to be saltless bread (it doesn’t go soggy the way bread normally does, to the extent that the leftovers are still good the next day), I was determined to do it properly. I think I’ll file this one under “kitchen madness”. But on the plus side, I only used 1/3 of the loaf this time and froze the other 2/3, so I can make this salad twice more without baking again.
approx. 1/3 of a loaf of stale Tuscan saltless bread, cubed (or croutons, if you can’t get saltless bread and aren’t mad)
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 garden cucumber, sliced (optional)
handful basil leaves, torn
white wine vinegar
Put the stale bread into a bowl and cover with cold water for about 10 minutes, until soft. Squeeze the excess water out of the bread with your hands and place in a bowl. (Skip this whole step if using croutons.)
Toss together the bread, onion, tomatoes, cucumber (if using) and basil. Drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, about 2 tablespoons of vinegar and sprinkle with a couple of good pinches of salt. Toss everything together well and taste, adjusting the oil, salt and vinegar as desired.
Set aside for about 30 minutes for the flavours to develop before serving.