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Cook: Better Bread – Panzanella

The most disappointing thing about living in Tuscany? The bread! Although a cut above Sunblest and baked fresh daily it lacks flavour (it is usually unsalted) and goes stale quicker than you can say Panzanella! Luckily this recipe makes stale bread into Tuscan gold. This bread salad can be served as a summery starter or goes well with grilled fish or roast chicken. The most difficult part of the recipe (if you are in the UK) will be getting your hands on a good tomato!

1 stale sourdough loaf or white crusty loaf, cut into large cubes
1 small cucumber, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
3 very ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 bunch basil leaves, chopped
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the chopped cucumber, red onion and tomatoes in a large bowl and add the bread. Mix well with your hands and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, sugar and salt and pepper together and add to the bowl with the basil. Give it a good stir, then cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for the flavours to penetrate the bread. The salad should be soft, but not too soggy.
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