Nothing screams summer like an Italian mozzarella panzanella salad. Sweet juicy tomatoes are in abundance at the moment, and the hot weather is causing our bread to become stale quickly, so now is the perfect season to make this rustic Tuscan dish. You can make the dish vegan by omitting the mozzarella, serve it with a big lentil salad or homemade houmous and crudités and you have a fresh, light vegan meal.
If you’re in a rush you can skip the first two steps, but it is worth it to take the time to make a really special salad.
Mozzarella Panzanella Salad
- 150g/ 5.3oz old Pain de Campagne (or any other firm, rustic loaf )
- 500g/ 17.5oz Medium Ripe Tomatoes (if you can get different colours all the better)
- 250g/ 8.8oz Mozzarella Balls (can be omitted for vegan recipe – just as good without)
- 1/2 Medium Red Onion
- Handful Fresh Basil
- 8 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 tbsp Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Small Garlic Clove
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Tear the bread into about 2cm chunks and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and place in the oven for 10 minutes to further dry out the bread.
- Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into 2cm pieces and place in a colander set over a bowl. Salt and leave to drain.
- Finely chop the red onion and garlic and place in a bowl along with the vinegar.
- Gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out the last of the juice, then put the flesh in a serving dish.
- Remove the bread from the oven and add to the serving dish.
- Add the tomato juice drained from the salted tomatoes to the onion, garlic and vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste.
- Pour on to the salad and toss thoroughly. Roughly tear the basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Allow to sit for between 15 minutes and an hour, then serve.