This is a traditional salad in Puglia, southern Italy, and is similar to the Tuscan panzanella. Both are a great way of using up stale bread, which soaks up the delicious juices of the tomatoes and dressing, but this one is even more frugal and we reckon better. Use the best oil you can afford, as you really notice the difference in this salad.
Tomato & bread salad - serves two
About 200g stale ciabatta or good sourdough-type bread
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
Salt and black pepper
500g very ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Handful of black olives
Small bunch of basil
1. Tear or cut the bread into chunks of about 3-4cm. Sprinkle them with a little water—just enough to moisten the surface. You don’t want the bread to get too sodden as it will also soak up some of the tomato juices.
2. Sprinkle the red onion slices with salt and put them in a bowl of cold water for half an hour—this reduces the bitterness. Drain the slices and set them aside.
3. Roughly chop the tomatoes and put them in a serving bowl, together with any juices released when you’re chopping. Add the garlic and oregano and season well with salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle over the olive oil, then add the bread, drained onion, olives and basil.
5. Leave the salad to stand for half an hour at room temperature before serving.