Tuscan panzanella salad

From time to time most households have leftover bread that it heading past its best but there’s no need to waste it- that’s where panzanella comes in! Panzanella is a traditional Italian tomato and bread salad that’s full of fresh, seasonal flavours. There is no one panzanella recipe so this is my take on it. I included fried capers to give an added dimension and texture. Anchovies are also added to ramp up the savouriness but you can omit these if you prefer.

For the perfect panzanella the tomatoes you choose are important as you want the freshest available. I have used a combination of smaller heirloom varieties which have become easier to find and add a range of colour. Panzanella makes a great light lunch or it can also be served with simple grilled meats for a more substantial meal. if you have any leftovers, you can simply baked the remaining pieces of bread on a tray in the oven until crisped and then serve with the salad- delicious!

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Ingredients- serves 4
200g open textured bread such as sourdough or ciabatta
500g assorted tomatoes- chopped
1 red onion- sliced
Jarred or fresh red and yellow peppers- finely sliced
6-8 anchovy fillets- finely chopped
2 tbsp capers- drained
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt
Fresh basil

1. Take your bread of choice and roughly tear it into pieces. Place on a tray and leave for around 20-30 minutes to help dry it out a little. Meanwhile pop the chopped tomatoes, peppers and onion in a colander with a bowl underneath and add salt and pepper. Leave to sit so it draws some moisture out of the tomatoes and softens the peppers.

2. Take a small frying pan and add a small amount of oil over a medium heat. Fry the capers until crispy. Tip the bread, tomatoes and onion into a bowl along with the peppers, anchovies and capers. Drizzle over the vinegar and oil; taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Finish with some freshly torn basil and serve immediately with some simple grilled meat such as chicken if you like.

Panzanella- a sunshine dish to brighten up even a rainy summer’s day!

 

Herb and chilli baked feta

Herb and chilli baked feta has to be one of the speediest starters around! We all know and love baked cheeses like camembert but this gives a Greek twist. Feta is the perfect baking cheese as it heats well and keeps its shape whilst retaining it beautiful saltiness so get reading and get cooking. You may also like to try using flavoured oils for this too such as garlic or lemon and thyme.

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Ingredients
1 block of feta approx. 250g
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Place the feta block in a small ovenproof baking dish or alternatively place on a piece of foil with the sides lifted to contain the oil. Combine the oil, chilli and herb and pour over the feta. Bake for around 15minutes until the feta is warmed through. Spread on fresh bread and enjoy!

Herb and chilli baked feta- so easy you can cook this in your sleep!