Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Tuscan Bread Salad

So - last week (or maybe the week before),  I was doing some college work with the TV on in the background and ended up accidentally catching some of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals.  I happened to look up and it was too late: hooked!  This recipe, and another for chowder which I'll post in just a moment, were scribbled down frantically so they are my take on his recipes.  I've not seen the book, so the quantities might not be quite right, but all credit to Jamie Oliver, I've just cobbled them together :)

We had this with some grilled chicken.  For two exceptionally greedy people who aren't really having much else but a chicken breast, you need:

Ciabatta bread - we used individual rolls from Sainsbury's. A bit stale is fine.
Fresh rosemary (I think Jamie uses oregano but I didnt have any)
Fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Tomatoes - good flavoursome ones, all colours and shapes, no rules
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar (I think Jamie uses red wine vinegar actually but this was good too)
Baby capers
Anchovies in oil - one of those little diddly cans
Sliced sweet or Spanish onions (I think this might have been my addition - I am pretty sure Jamie uses those cooked skinned peppers that come in a jar)

Okay so it's really easy.  First put your grill on to heat up.

Rip up the ciabatta into bite sized pieces and put it into a roasting dish with the rosemary (it's easier if you strip it off the stalks), a crushed clove of garlic, salt and pepper and olive oil and fennel seeds.  Mix it up with your hands so that the bread is coated and everything is mixed in together.

In the meantime chop your tomatoes up roughly, perhaps reserving a few of the pretty ones for decoration later.  Put them into a big bowl (big enough to hold the bread in a few minutes too).  Add a good slug of the vinegar, salt and pepper, the finely sliced onions (or peppers), and give it a stir.  While you're at it add most of the basil too, again keeping a bit back for finishing at the end.

At this point pop the bread in but KEEP AN EYE ON IT.  Golden is good.  Crunchy is good.  Well done is good.  Black and smoking is not so good.  Anyway while that's doing, moosh up the anchovy fillets with a fork into a paste and add a tablespoon full of capers, again mooshing up.  Add them, and maybe half the oil from the anchovy can (do it by eye, you don't want it super oily but you do need a bit), and one more crushed garlic clove for luck, and stir everything round really well so the flavours get chance to blend together.

When your bread's done, scoop it into the tomatoes and stir it all up.  When it is cool enough to get your hands in, do so, and make sure the bread's soaked up some of the tomatoey juices and the oil and all that savoury loveliness.  Make sure you've scooped all the crunchy fennel seeds and garlic in too.

When you're ready, add the few reserved tomatoes and nice tidy basil leaves, give it a final drizzle of balsamic vinegar and shave parmesan over the top.  It is amayonnaising.  Also, don't worry about the anchovies/capers; I know some people are sure they don't like them but actually when they are all mooshed up together they're just savoury and delicious and not fishy or capery if that makes sense.

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