I often find myself in a situation where I don’t have much choice about what I can eat. I write and test certain recipes, try specific street food, visit particular restaurants. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that sometimes, it’s a real novelty to be able to cook whatever I ruddy well feel like. The freezer is stuffed with the ragus and dhals I sweated over on a summer’s day, waiting for autumn when they’ll thaw in a pan after a long day at work, and defrost onto the pages they were destined for.
This salad came about because I was desperate to get as much summery food as I could into my body all at once. I needed the refreshment that only a big bowl of different coloured plant bits can bring, and then while making it decided it was nothing without carbs and a creamy dressing. You can take the girl out of winter…
Panzanella with Caesar Dressing Recipe
This is – you’ve probably guessed already – a hybrid of the Italian bread salad panzanella and Caesar Cardini’s crisp classic. I’ve come up with a dressing which is loosely based on the latter in that it contains anchovies, and a splash of buttermilk for creaminess. Yes I was mining the depths of the fridge. I’ve given quantities for the dressing but not so much for the vegetables as I can’t really remember. Come on though, it’s a salad. Just eyeball it.
For the dressing:
2 garlic cloves, smushed with a tiny pinch of sea salt
3 anchovies, also smushed
1 inch square of Grana Padano or Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons buttermilk
For the salad ingredients (although it’s good to mix it up with whatever you have, as long as you keep the bread and capers):
Spring onions, sliced
Green beans, blanched
Stale sourdough bread, torn into pieces
Capers (a tablespoon?)
Mix salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients. Combine together. Ta-da!