The Fresh Loaf

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Panzanella - a great way to use leftover bread

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rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Panzanella - a great way to use leftover bread

You know those drying butt-ends of sourdough bread from the previous bake that you leave sitting in a bag, in danger of being forgotten until it's too late? I hate wasting bread, so am always on the lookout for ways to use those leftover bits.

Cubed leftover bread makes great croutons, and of course you can keep yourself in good supply of bread crumbs using a food processor. I keep a bag of frozen bread crumbs in the freezer door, which I often top up.

One of my favourite uses for leftover sourdough, though, is in panzanella, a refreshing traditional Italian salad that is good all year round, but especially in summer. There are lots of variations, so don't hesitate to throw in any compatible ingredients you have on hand. The version that follows is one that has evolved over time in my kitchen. I think it's pretty close to qualifying as 'traditional'.

Ingredients:
leftover sourdough or other bread (traditionally, ciabatta is used)
4 medium tomatoes
2 trimmed celery stalks, cut in diagonals
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 medium red onion
60ml red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup or more fresh-picked basil leaves, shredded or torn

Method:
Thin-slice onion and let soak in vinegar in salad bowl while you prepare rest of ingredients
Cut tomatoes into coarse wedges or cubes, add to bowl, sprinkle over sugar, grind over pepper, salt to taste
Cut bread into approx 2cm cubes
Cut celery into strips lengthways, then slice obliquely across in diagonals
Add bread and celery to bowl
Combine remaining ingredients in screw-top jar, shake well, pour over salad, and toss gently.

That's it! So quick and simple, and just delicious. Using top quality organic tomatoes, homegrown if possible, makes a big difference to the end result.

Cheers all
Ross

 





Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

Looks delicious Ross! Thanks for posting.  It's just the kind of salad I would enjoy.

Best,

Syd

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hope you give it a go, although I can get it if it doesn't seem so appealing in the midst of winter!

Cheers
Ross

varda's picture
varda

Your panzanella looks fantastic.   I just threw out a heel of bread, and wish I hadn't now that I see this.  I recently cut up some left over fairly dry bread and put it into a meat loaf instead of bread crumbs.   It was awesome.    -Varda

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Yes, crumbs made from home-baked bread are always superior in flavour to commercial bread crumbs. With SD, it's hard to get them ground down as finely - but that's not much of an issue, as you evidently found with your meatloaf.

Cheers!
Ross

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Thank you for sharing such a great looking salad dish! I will try your recipe!  

Thank you again!

Akiko

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Always a pleasure to share with this terrific community - whatever I put out I've already gotten back tenfold. Hope you enjoy your panzanella when you get around to making it!

Cheers
Ross

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Ross,
Panzanella is one of my favorite things to make with extra bread - your version looks wonderful.
Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, and a red-wine vinaigrette --- that salad is a beauty.
:^) from breadsong

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Just curious - does your version differ much from mine?

Cheers
Ross

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Ross,
This version I just love, and it's very similar to yours:

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/grilled-sourdough-panzanella.aspx

The bread is brushed with olive oil and grilled, as Glenn suggested, and the shallot is soaked in vinegar to soften the bite, as you do with your red onion. 

I can't wait for tomato season!
:^) breadsong

 

 

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I notice your recipe also includes mint and capers. I like the freshness and simplicity of mine, but am always open to new ideas and will try those additions. Looking forward to doing so. Actually, we have some primo spring onions in the backyard, so will be incorporating those in my next panzanella. Thanks for posting the link.

Until your summer and fresh tomato season arrives, you've always got tinned tomatoes and all the terrif pasta, pizza and other dishes you can do with them. With tinned tuna,  tinned tomatoes  have to be one of the last great bargains left on supermarket shelves. I go through many cartons of them per year. But of course, no good in salads, and you just can't beat fresh home-grown.

Cheers!
Ross

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

It's Winter here, Ross, so I haven't made Panzanella in some time.  But it is my absolute favorite thing to do with leftover sourdough in the Summer.

Nice recipe.

The recipe I first used calls for grilling the bread slices in olive oil until crispy, then tearing the slices into pieces.  That keeps the bread from getting too soggy in the salad.  I still use that technique with a variety of Panzanella recipes.

Glenn

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Tomatoes! We've just finished this lot of home-growns. Sob. Back to boring shop ones - the difference is stark.

Last year I put in a late crop the day before we flew out to Vietnam for a month's travelling. When we got back they were already fruiting, and ended up yielding well into winter. What a bonus that was! We're flying out to Thailand in the early hours of Thursday for a backpacking stint of similar duration, so when we get back am hoping for a repeat of last year's tomato surprise.

I use 3-4 day old SD in my panzanellas, and much of it is crust from the butt-ends of batards, so it keeps its structure and doesn't get soggy. The sogginess factor aside, grilled SD in olive oil is a taste sensation in itself, so I imagine it's a very nice variation in panzanella.

Cheers!

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Ross

Thanks for posting about this lovely salad.  It is really tasty and I find it better if you mix it and leave it to infuse for 30 mins or so.  However, when you live in the UK like I do it is not something that is high up on the menu list at the moment - but come June/July time it will be a regular.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I agree with you re the flavours developing over time. With all my salads with oil-based dressings, I leave the onions to marinate in the vinegar and the oil-based dressing to sit awhile before pouring on.

Enjoy your panzanellas and all those other summer goodies - not so long away now!

Cheers
Ross