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Sean Connolly's Panzanella


Sean Connolly's Panzanella

By chef Sean Connolly,
Gusto at the Grand

Serves 4

Chef Sean Connolly loves this Panzanella recipe so much, he added it to the menu at his new SKYCITY restaurant in Auckland, Gusto at the Grand. Got too many tomatoes and a loaf of day-old bread? Then you'll love preparing this super-simple salad dish too.

Ingredients:
1  Ciabatta Loaf (day old, crusts removed, cut into 1cm cubes)
300ml  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100ml  Balsamic Vinegar
1  Garlic clove, crushed
5  Ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1  Red onion, small, thinly sliced
1/3 Cup Basil leaves
1/2 tsp  Sea Salt
1/2 tsp  Black Pepper, freshly ground


Method:

Bake the bread pieces in a warm oven (160 degrees Celsius) until they turn golden brown and are completely dry (about 6 minutes). Leave to cool on the baking tray.

In a bowl, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic. Whisk together then toss in the bread pieces.

Add the tomatoes, red onion freshly torn basil leaves. Lightly toss again, season to taste with salt and pepper then serve immediately.

Extra tips:
- Any country-style, firm, rustic bread would be appropriate for this Panzanella recipe. You could also tear the bread into small pieces.
- Use your flashest olive oil for this recipe. The quality becomes apparent on the first taste.
- The key for Panzanella is not to have soggy bread, so bake them well at the beginning which allows the tomato juices and balsamic vinegar to just coat the crisp bread pieces, not seep in.
- Add a Tuscan twist by mashing 3 or 4 anchovies and adding in to the final toss.
- Capsicum and capers are also a welcome addition to a Panzanella, but don't ever omit the thin slices of red onion or, shock horror, the tomatoes.


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