What To Do With Leftover Bread: Panzanella Salad

This month over on the Borough Market Blog for Love Your Market fortnight I put together a pair of posts with some of my tips for saving money and avoiding waste by shopping at your local market for fresh produce instead of at the supermarket (click through to read some of my hints, tips and market stories), as well as my two monthly recipes: Panzanella Salad and Italian Bread & Tomato Soup (coming soon!) My Panzanella is something I’ve been making and working on ever since September when I started living alone again, because while I wanted to make or buy fresh loaves for recipes, there was no way I could eat a whole one by myself before it started to go stale, so it is a recipe I really want to shared here with you guys also. 

Sometimes when I’m just putting a bit of red onion raw in a salad I leave it be, but when it is one of the stars of the show I sometimes find that raw onion can have a bit too much bite and stick on your breath. To take the edge off a little, plunge your onion pieces into a bowl of cold water for five minutes, then pat dry. You’ll keep the flavour without the onion heat. This tip comes to me via Florence Knight, who I have a lot to thank for the process behind my Panzanella; I started working from her recipe, but I’ve changed it so many times over the past 9 months to suit both my personal tastes and what I tend to have leftover in my fridge.
These measurements serve two as a small plate, but one big bowl as a main meal for a greedy person for a filling lunch, which is exactly what I do! Honestly, if you’re a little short of most things like the onion, tomatoes, basil or bread, or you have a bit too much of them it really does not matter. This dish is all about making sure the end of your loaf does not go to waste.

  • The end 1/4 to 1/3 of a stale loaf
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Large Handfuls Ripe Tomatoes, different sizes and roughly chopped
  • Small Handful Fresh Basil, torn
  • 1 tsp Nonpareilles Capers
  • 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (I swear by Aspall’s)
  • Large Pinch Golden Caster Sugar 

Roughly tear the bread into large bite sized chunks and spread across a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before grilling for 5-10 minutes, until the chunks have started to crisp up and turn golden.

Meanwhile, slice the onion and soak it in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. This takes some of the tang out of the onions, while still retaining their kick and flavour.

Toss the bread pieces, chopped tomato, basil, capers, onion, sugar, red wine vinegar and another good glug of oil together in a large bowl.

Leave for the vinegar and tomato juices to seep into the bread before serving at room temperature.

What are your favourite uses for leftover stale bread? Alternatively, everyone has their own different versions of Panzanella; I’d love to hear how you make yours!