If you’re like me, your favourite part of a salad with croutons is… well, the croutons. And that’s exactly what Panzanella is made of! It’s an italian salad where the main ingredient is bread (I know, it’s not made for those “I have a wedding this weekend” meal plans), and then it’s surrounded by Italy’s best: mozzarella cheese, olives, and tomatoes. I used ciabatta for the croutons because it’s super crunchy when toasted and stays that way for long, which is crucial when you then add a liquid vinaigrette. And to top it all up, I made a vinaigrette with olive oil, lime juice and chopped red bell pepper, which gives it a nice boost of flavour. Also, once you taste these croutons, you’ll never make them any other way 😉
For the croutons:
– 120g ciabatta bread (about 2 breads)
– 40ml extra virgin olive oil
– 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or a tsp of dried rosemary
– 1 garlic clove
– salt and pepper to taste (although I like them peppery :))
For the salad:
– 50g green olives
– 50g purple or black olives
– 100g mozzarella cheese
– 150g cherry tomatoes
– 70g hydroponic lettuce
– 20g watercress or rocket (I used watercress)
For the dressing:
– 30g red bell pepper (peeled and chopped)
– 50ml olive oil
– Juice from 1/2 a lime
– salt and pepper to taste
1. First we’ll start with the croutons because they need to cool down before they go into the salad or they will wilt all our fresh ingredients. Start by adding aroma to your olive oil: put it with the rosemary sprig and a crushed garlic clove on minimum heat until it start bubbling. Then turn it off and leave there for 5min and strain.
2. Cut the ciabatta in cubes and add the oil, salt and pepper. Toss to make them get evenly soaked. Then they go into the oven at 180C until completely dry (mine took about 25min).
3. Now chopping of the ingredients! I cut my olives lengthways in 4, then the cherry tomatoes in half across the centre, mozzarella in cubes, picked my watercress and lettuce, washed both and made sure I cut the lettuce into bite-size.
4. For the vinaigrette, chop really tiny your red pepper and mix with olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, considering that this is the only seasoning apart from the croutons, so go intense.
That’s done then! Now all you have to do is mix everything up and enjoy this amazing dish. As my best friend said, it’s basically a bruschetta made into a salad! Comment below what other types of salads you like 🙂