Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gleaned panzanella

M and D pick berries
Last weekend I went foraging around the city with a few friends. It's amazing how much food is hanging around if you look for it. We gathered acorns, apples and blackberries growing wild at the beach and the last of the raspberries and tomatoes from a friend's garden. Everywhere we went there was that perfect, dappled, fall sort of light that is so pretty you can't quite believe it's real.

S with blackberries
I got a lot of tomatoes from my friend's garden-big chunky, variegated, red-brown and rust coloured-and quite a lot of tiny, pea sized cherry tomatoes from my best tomato plant from the summer. I wanted to make them the center of a salad. 

Everything else in the recipe is just a suggestion. Panzanella is one of the many brilliant Italian ways of making frugal home economics delicious. They do brillant things with stale bread and you should never throw out bread just because it has gone stale. Panzanella is an improvisation, a showcase of leftovers, of whatever vegetables are around and bits of cheese and maybe a crumble of pancetta or nuts. 


1 stale baguette or crusty loaf
as many good tomatoes as you can get your hands on
1 cup shelled edamame or peas, boiled in salted water until tender
2 cups arugula
1/2 english cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup crumbed feta
1 large bunch parsley
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
lemon juice
red wine vinegar

Roughly tear bread and toss with tomatoes, cucumber, edamame, arugula and feta. Drizzle oil and lemon and vinegar over to coat. Finely chop parsley and garlic into a paste and toss that into everything. The bread should be soft and slightly mush into everything and soak up the salad dressing. If the bread is still  a bit hard, add a little more dressing let it sit for a minute to soak it all up. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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