waste not want not panzanella
Waste not, want not.
We’re trying very, very hard to live a much more sustainable lifestyle and to really take note of what we buy. In the past, we might have popped into Manchester and come bag with bags of *stuff* that we just didn’t need. We don’t do this now. Because we’ve kind of had to start from scratch, with our Istria house, we’ve had to be a lot more careful. OK, so we had all of our furniture and boxes of accessories etc from our West Didsbury house, but we also now have a house with a whole lot more floorspace, so we’ve had to think carefully about how we furnish and accessorise it. Upcycling and recycling has played a much bigger part this time around – and it’s very satisfying to see something we’ve actually created.
But this is not the only aspect of our lives, where we’re trying to be more careful. Rather than chucking food which we think looks a bit “off”, we now try to eat what we buy when it’s fresh. Or, certainly in my case, being a bit braver with food and not think I am going get food poisoning if it’s a day or two past its best.
Like the ciabatta loaf that hadn’t been eaten quickly enough this weekend, and was too hard to do much with. Like the tomatoes which had gone a bit too soft. Like the jar of anchovies which had been opened for a pizza a couple of nights previously and needed to be eaten. Then I remembered a dish I had always intended to make – but then never got round to, because I’d always chucked the perfect ingredients for this recipe. Those a bit on the stale side, and just past their best. No excuses this time, as I had everything to hand…
Panzanella (or panmolle) is a Tuscan salad, the main ingredients being stale bread, onions and tomatoes, with red wine vinegar and olive oil. We had a few more ingredients to hand, so threw these in, too. The easiest and quickest dish to make – even adding in the additional time to roast the peppers.
- Stale ciabatta loaf
- Over ripe mixed tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 handful small capers (drained)
- 1 small red onion – peeled and finely sliced
- A couple of red peppers, chopped & roasted – make sure the skin blackens in places for extra flavour
- About 10 small anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped up
- Red wine vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper
- Torn up fresh basil leaves
And this is how simple it is to make…
- Chop the red peppers, smother with olive oil and black pepper and roast for about 30 minutes.
- Place the chopped tomatoes in a big bowl and season with salt and pepper, and then add the red peppers when roasted.
- Rinse the capers, squeeze out any excess liquid and add to the bowl, along with the sliced, red onion, ciabatta and anchovies.
- Toss the mixture together with your hands, then stir in a splash of red wine vinegar and about 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil.
- Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil, if needed.
- Tear in the basil leaves, stir together and grate parmesan cheese over the salad.
Serve, with a lovely glass of chilled wine. The perfect Italian salad, using what you probably have in the kitchen anyway.