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
- 160 gram wholegrain sourdough bread
- olive oil spray
- 1 lemon
- 800 gram cooked medium king prawns (shrimp)
- 800 gram canned cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
- 250 gram cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 lebanese cucumbers, chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup (60g) pitted sicilian green olives, halved
- 1 fresh long red chilli, sliced thinly
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
- 120 gram soft goat's cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
- 1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
- 2Roughly tear bread into pieces, place on tray; spray with cooking oil. Bake 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- 3Remove rind from lemon with a zester, cutting into long strips. Shell and devein prawns, leaving tails intact.
- 4Place bread, rind, prawns, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, chilli, basil and half the cheese in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
- 5Combine 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.
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