Before the advent of the modern supermarket bread, every cuisine around the world had a recipe for using stale bread – panzanella is Italy’s answer to this age-old problem. While starting off as a simple peasant dish born of necessity, panzanella has long been a dish favoured for its simplicity that allows the flavours of good-quality ingredients to shine through.
Spicy white bean panzanella
1.Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
2.Roughly tear bread into pieces, place on tray; spray with cooking oil. Bake 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
3.Remove rind from lemon with a zester, cutting into long strips. Shell and devein prawns, leaving tails intact.
4.Place bread, rind, prawns, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, chilli, basil and half the cheese in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
5.Combine oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl; season to taste. Spoon dressing over salad; top with remaining cheese. Serve immediately.
If you don’t have a zester, you can finely grate the lemon rind instead. You can use marinated fetta instead of goat’s cheese. If you like, omit the prawns and add a can of flaked drained tuna in olive oil.