Panzanella Meets Caesar


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):

Tomatoes, chopped
Cucumbers, chopped
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!

You may also enjoy my original panzanella recipe. Find other salad recipes here.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Cate August 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    looks perfect!

  • Avatar
    Reply George @ CulinaryTravels August 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    This looks lovely Helen. Very refreshing and I will be trying the dressing soon – I confess I have never made my own Caesar dressing.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Try it! Very easy and you can make it as punchy as you like.

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