Panzanella has been on my to-make list for a long time. I finally made it yesterday along with the bread that goes in it. I used a tomato & kalamata ciabatta recipe that I found on Food&Wine. I slightly adapted it to fit what I had in my kitchen. The best part of making bread is the smell that fills out the house. Luckily, I made the full recipe for the ciabatta which makes 2 loaves and I only needed half a loaf for the salad. Why? Because half a loaf disappeared into my belly as soon as it came out of the oven and another big chunk of it disappeared into my husband’s belly as soon as he came back from work. I toasted the bread in a pan with olive oil so it would still remain a bit crunchy as I ate it. I added some edible flowers for an extra pop of color.
The recipe for the ciabatta makes 2 loaves and the recipe for the salad serves 2.
For the ciabatta:
5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
4 tablespoons of tomato puree
7 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and quartered
80gr of pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
3 packets of dry yeast (7grs each)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 ¾ cups of warm water
2 ½ cups pf all-purpose flower
¾ cup semolina
For the salad:
½ a loaf of the tomato and kalamata ciabatta
7 tablespoons of olive oil
100gr of feta, chopped or crumbled
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
150grs of heirloom tomatoes, quartered or chopped depending on their sizes
1 bunch of asparagus
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Edible flowers (optional)
For the dressing:
¼ cup of olive oil
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of mustard
1 tablespoon of honey
To make the ciabatta:
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they caramelized a bit. This will take about 8 minutes. Then add the tomato puree and cook for 4 minutes. Add the olives and tomatoes. Mix well. Finally add some salt and pepper. Let it cool down.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the yeast, sugar and water. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, flour and semolina.
Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for about 6 minutes until the dough starts to pull from the edges. Then add the cooled kalamata and tomato mixture. Mix first with a spatula and then for 1 extra minute on low speed just until it’s mixed in. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until it doubles in volume.
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. It will be very soft and sticky. Divide the dough into 2 even pieces and shape each piece into a loaf of about 20cm long. Place the loaves on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until they are lightly browned. Transfer them to a rack and allow them to cool down. You should have a piece while it is still warm, I had half a loaf.
To make the dressing:
Just place all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Set aside.
To make the salad:
Chop half of a ciabatta loaf into cubes. Pour 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the ciabatta and cook until it becomes crispy. Stir from time to time. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer it to a plate and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Sauté the asparagus until crisp-tender. The time will depend on their thickness. Since I got very young ones, I didn’t have to trim them. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and asparagus. Add the ciabatta and dressing. Mix well. Serve immediately. You can decorate it with some edible flowers.