Katie Quinn1 Comment

Katie’s panzanella

Katie Quinn1 Comment
 Katie’s panzanella
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My love of balsamic vinegar is well-known amongst my friends, and I was once dared to drink a (reasonable-sized) glass of the stuff in one go (for the record, I didn’t do it, but mainly because it was a cheap supermarket variety!). Jokes aside, I really do adore a wonderful aged balsamic, and whenever I am lucky enough to venture to Italy, I always lug home armfuls of it. I am the type to pour it with abandon over all the foods I love, including bread, cheese, tomatoes and capers (so I guess you could call this salad one of my all-time favourite meals). If you don’t have a gas stove, you can achieve a similar result by charring the capsicums on the barbecue or in a preheated 200˚C fan-forced oven for about 1 hour (coating them in a little olive oil first).

INGREDIENTS /

8 roma (plum) tomatoes, halved length-ways
Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for cooking
1 small–medium day-old sourdough loaf, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 red capsicums (peppers)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
220g fresh buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
1 bunch basil, leaves picked

BALSAMIC VINEGAR DRESSING

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

METHOD /

Preheat the oven to 130˚C fan-forced.

Place the tomato halves on a baking tray, season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 2 hours or until very soft and slightly caramelised. After 1. hours, spread the pieces of bread out on a separate baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and add them to the oven with the tomatoes for the last 30 minutes of cooking time, until they are light golden-brown and crispy. Transfer the bread to a large bowl, and leave the tomatoes to cool.

Meanwhile, using tongs, hold the capsicums over a naked gas flame on your stove top, rotating occasionally, until the skins are charred all over. Place the capsicums in a large bowl, cover with plastic film and set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the charred skin. Cut away the core and white inner membrane and discard the seeds, then cut the flesh into thin strips. Place in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, massaging the oil into the flesh, and set aside.

To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the roasted bread chunks and toss to coat well, then remove the bread with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving platter, reserving the dressing.

Add the roasted tomato halves, capsicum strips (drained of oil), mozzarella, capers and basil to the platter. Drizzle over the dressing, toss to combine well, then season with salt and pepper before serving.