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Maria’s Recipes: Christmas Panzanella

Christmas Panzanella

Serves 1 as a main meal or 2 people for a side dish

*Bread x 2 thick slices, toasted well and left in the toaster to cool (use rye bread or a good grain bread, something with ‘body’, not sliced ‘wonder-loaf’ type bread)
*Tomatoes x 2 sweet variety/ripe (room temperature),  (kumatoes are excellent or from your own garden – sweet is key!), chopped into chunks – however you prefer them
*Brown onion x 1 tablespoon, finely sliced or diced
*Red capsicum x 1/3 cup finely sliced
*Anchovy fillets (in oil from a jar) x 2, chopped finely
*Red wine vinegar x 1 tablespoon (alternatively, use balsamic vinegar)
*Salt for the tomatoes …before adding to the bowl (just a pinch)
*Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
*Fresh basil leaf x 1 large, rolled-up, then snipped finely with scissors to make a fine ‘chiffonade’ + an extra leaf of basil for garnish
*Garlic clove x 1/2 – for rubbing around the salad bowl (or garlic flavoured olive oil)
*Olive oil x 2 teaspoon’s for drizzling
*Optional (but delicious): fine grating of fresh parmesan cheese before serving


*Prepare this close to when you’re going to be eating it, this isn’t a salad to make ahead and refrigerate and it’s best eaten at room temperature.
*Toast bread well and leaving it in the toaster to cool a bit, so the bread dries out.
*Prepare all of ingredients ie. chop the tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little salt, finely slice the onion and capsicum and finely mince the anchovy fillets with a sharp knife.
*Rub serving bowl well with half a slice of raw garlic.. which will ‘scent’ the ingredients and not leave chunks of garlic in your mouth – alternatively use some garlic flavoured olive oil.
*Rip toast into pieces or alternatively, roughly cut-up with a knife, about 6 to 9 pieces per slice of bread – put them in your serving bowl, then top with the tomatoes.  Sprinkle over anchovies, onions, fresh basil chiffonade and capsicum. Give mixture a stir, add vinegar and mix again, then grind over some fresh black pepper and drizzle over some olive oil, give it another good mix – taste to see if you’d like more salt or acid or oil.  Be careful with the red wine vinegar it’s easy to overdo it.  Give the salad ingredients another good stir and it’s ready to serve.  Top with an extra basil leaf  or two…and an optional drizzle of oil and grating of fresh parmesan cheese.