Loving the Italian cuisine is like loving a perfect summer holiday – funny, sunny and ever green. Surely we all have our favourite round the corner pizza or pasta place, but as good as it most certainly is nothing compares to the real foods and drinks in Italy. I have been fortunate enough to spend years in Milan on business trips and to my delight, have had countless of occasions to talk, taste and be merry around simple but out of this world delicious foods. Something happens to the heart with such perfection. Food tasted only once, remains to haunt our imagination and unbidden questions fill our mind: “How can I make this? What might be the ingredients of this dish? Where can I find the recipe?”. To such extend, that unintentionally new Italian recipes start to appear in our family kitchen repertoár, as natural and easy as smiling or breathing.
This Roasted Tomato Panzanella Salad is one of my summer favourite. It is a simple salad – toasted multi-grain bread, soaked in all the amazing juices of tomatoes and runny mozzarella Burrata. Something wonderful happens in this salad by mixing three different tomato types – fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes and half-dry tomatoes. Like a simple melody suddenly played by three instrument orchestra, singularly beautiful yet intertwined in one. A drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and fragrant basil leaves – is all it needs to combine all salad flavours. My lovely, perfect summer meal… Anytime. Every time!
- 4 cups grape tomatoes
- 4 cups cubed multigrain bread
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- half-dry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 fresh mozzarella Burrata
- 15-20 fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. On one baking sheet, lay 2/3 of the tomatoes down and drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On a separate baking sheet, place the cubed bread and toss it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place both sheets in the oven. Roast the tomatoes for a full 20 minutes, tossing once during cooking. Toast the bread for 10-12 minutes, until golden, tossing 2-3 times during cooking.
2. Place mozzarella on a paper towel to remove a bit of the moisture and water.
3. Chop any larger basil leaves, leaving the smaller ones intact if desired.
4. Chop the remaining tomatoes in quarters.
3. In a large bowl, add bread, roasted, fresh and half-dry tomatoes, basil, remaining salt and pepper. Gently toss with two large spoons, trying to keep the tomatoes intact for pretty visual purposes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the salad, and then add on a liberal drizzle of balsamic glaze (optionally if desired). Serve immediately.