If you’re going to go the the effort of baking your own bread, it seems a shame to throw away any stale chunks that might be left over after a couple of days. You could make breadcrumbs to coat a couple of chicken or veal escallops, or to pad out a batch of meatballs. Or, you could make a classic Italian panzanella salad.
The panzanella most of us know is made up of familiar components; stale crusty bread, ripe summer tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
Panzanella first appears in the 16th century in the writings of Florentine poet Bronzino. Bronzino describes a salad of bread, cucumber, basil, rocket, onions and vinegar, as tomatoes had yet to appear in the everyday Italian kitchen.
So, it is not too much of a stretch from tradition to switch out familiar tomatoes (especially in the Spring just before they reach their prime) with tart slivers of roasted red pepper (from a jar, this is supposed to be a last minute supper, after all). Use what you enjoy and have to hand. I keep to tradition with slivers of red onion (soaked in cold water to remove their bite) and fresh basil. I up the umami factor with the addition of small, plump nonpareil capers.
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