I tried Panzanella for the first time a couple of days ago. I was looking through one of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls book for inspiration for what to have for dinner and came across it. I have never fancied it before but this was totally scrummy.
I used the very last half tomato from the huge bag of giant beefsteak ones I got for 20p a pound from the greengrocer a while ago and the end of a baguette that had gone hard, so this cost very little indeed. You could use the end crusts from a sliced loaf, a reduced speciality loaf, or any stale bread you have. However, I will list the ingredients and cost them as if purchased especially. If you have any tomatoes in the garden, or can beg some from a friend, this will be even cheaper.
For 2 people
- 400g very ripe and flavoursome tomatoes, at £2/kg, 80p
- 250g stale bread, cut into rough cubes, at the 47p/800g loaf price we have been buying for these recipes, this would be 15p
- 40ml veg oil, 5p
- basil leaves
Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes roughly, toss with more salt and pepper, a little more oil and the torn basil leaves
Most recipes say that you need to let the bread soften in the tomato juices, but I ate mine while the croutons were still crunchy, it was delicious
Variations – if you have olive oil, use it in this, it will give a delicious flavour. I wanted to try it with cheap rape seed oil to see if it was ok, and it was more than ok. Additions if you have them available could include, green or black olives, capers, gherkins or crispy bacon, complete with the cooking juices
If you don’t have any fresh basil leaves, this will work without