I’m sat writing this article on the beach at Eastney in the sunshine, thinking to myself how lucky I am to live in Southsea. As summer approaches we can look forward to those impromptu BBQs and picnics on the beach, and hopefully we can go back to summers without any restrictions on social gatherings!
Thinking about picnics and BBQs I want to share with you the recipe for my absolute favourite summer salad, perfect as a quick lunch or a brilliant addition to a picnic or party. The humble panzanella salad was born out of Tuscany as a way for poor farming people to use up tomatoes from their land and leftover stale bread. With the addition of a few special flavours, this becomes a bomb of flavours and freshness.
We sell this salad every day in The Southsea Deli, and we are blessed to have the fabulous Isle of Wight tomatoes at our disposal. They supply us with brilliant tomatoes all year round, but come into their own this time of year as all of the shapes and colours are also available.
To make a salad for 4 people, combine in a bowl, equal parts torn stale crusty bread (ideally sourdough) and roughly chopped tomatoes. Chop the larger tomatoes into large chunks and the smaller tomatoes into halves or quarters. I suggest a handful of tomatoes and bread per person.
Add to the bowl:
Toss everything together and leave for 30 minutes or so to allow the bread to soak up the juices. Toss again and serve.
This salad is a meal in itself, but it makes a brilliant addition to grilled meats for something more substantial. A favourite of mine for a BBQ is to serve this alongside some simple . I like to marinade diced free-range pork shoulder in olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and black pepper. Once on a skewer these take 8-10 minutes on a BBQ, and then season with salt at the very end.
All that’s missing is a chilled glass of Italian white wine… cheers!