Not only is this classic Tuscan tomato-bread salad incredibly good-looking and super easy to whip up, it also visits all the important stops in flavour country – sweetness of tomatoes, salty-tangy of capers, creaminess of buffalo mozzarella, and pepperiness of basil. It’s all pulled together with the crunch of toasted sourdough and a classic balsamic dressing.
Full disclosure: panzanella is not a quick dish, as there’s some serious slow-roasting required to get the tomatoes to the perfect state of gooey on the inside and caramelised on the outside – it can be tempting to crank up the oven to reduce cooking time, but trust me, low and slow is the go.
To get started, preheat the oven to 130°C. Slice 8 Roma tomatoes in half lengthways, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Pop cut side-up on a baking tray, and roast in the oven for about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, tear up a small-ish loaf of sourdough bread into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and thrown onto a second baking tray, and pop into the oven for the last 20 minutes of the tomato-roasting (if you’re burn-prone like me, check often!) Take the bread and tomatoes out of the oven and leave to cool, then arrange both on a serving dish.
Scatter the tomatoes and bread with fresh basil leaves, a tablespoon of rinsed salted capers, 220g of buffalo mozarella, and thin strips of 3 or 4 roasted red capsicums (I used ones from a jar, but by all means, roast them yourself).
Whisk 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper to make a dressing, then pour over the salad and serve.