Recipe

Stale bread panzanella

by Chloë Stewart

An adaptable salad for using up leftovers from Chloë Stewart of nibs etc.

This can be made with whatever beautiful leftovers you find in your fridge and pantry. Eat as a main, for lunch, or as a side to a fish or meat dish.

Ingredients

Stale bread (as much as you have or want)
120ml red or white wine vinegar
2 eggs
4 large (or 6 small) cherry tomatoes
1 shallot
1 heaped tsp capers
5 olives or gherkins
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh parsley and basil (dried will do if you don’t have fresh)

Optional add-ins:
Greens: arugula, celery leaves, endive, lambs lettuce
Veggies: cucumber, courgette, artichoke, asparagus
Protein: beans, nuts, bacon/prosciutto, salumi, tuna
Cheese: pecorino, ricotta salata, scamorza, feta, gruyere

Method

Roughly chop your stale bread into even (ish) golf-ball sized chunks and lay flat in a baking dish. Pour over 360ml ambient water and the vinegar, making sure every piece has been coated and that the liquid covers the base of your dish by at least 1 cm. Let stand for 2 hours (note the staler the bread, the more time and potentially liquid it will need, and vice versa).

Once your bread has soaked (and absorbed all the liquid), using your hands, squeeze your now soft bread to remove as much liquid as possible, then crumble using your hands into the centre of your serving dish.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Gently place in your eggs, turning down the heat to a simmer, and boil to desired hardness (soft 4-5 mins, medium 6-7 mins, hard 8-9 mins). Let stand in cold water before peeling and set aside.

Now prep all your other add-ins: dice your tomatoes, halve and thinly slice your shallot, roughly chop your capers and olives, slice gherkins, wash and dry your greens and chop up your veggies, protein and cheese so that everything is roughly the same size (which will make for an easier to eat salad and nicer mouthfeel.

If you’re looking to score some presentation points, arrange all your different ingredients into segments in a circle around the central pile of bread. Place your peeled, halved (lengthways) boiled eggs top and centre.

Season generously with salt, pepper, roughly chopped fresh herbs (1 tsp of each if using dry), and a healthy glug of your best extra virgin olive oil. To serve, divide the eggs, toss and devour. Buon appetito!

Recipe: Chloë Stewart