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Panzanella Salad with Tuna
Sometimes I am astonished at what’s not on Chewing the Fat. Just when I start to worry that I’ll never find a recipe that I haven’t already tried, I discover amazing gaps in our collection. Take these two recipes, which I have been making for a whole lot longer than I’ve been blogging. The first is an Italian classic. Just as the season’s tomatoes can’t get any sweeter and riper, I love to make this easy offering of garlick-y toasted peasant bread, red onions, olive oil, vinegar and basil. The salad has its origins in Tuscany and is a specialty of Firenze. It’s one of those gifts of ingenuity to la cucina from the poor for whom every scrap of bread was put to use. Almost every Italian cookbook has a recipe for this salad and you can find plenty of recipes far more complex than the one I share here. My old and dearly remembered friend, Marcella Hazan, made hers with capers, bell pepper, anchovy filets, and cucumbers added to the tomatoes and red onions. Today, I bring you the most basic of all Panzanella recipes. And thanks to Bebe Caggiano, the Italian-American food writer and chef, the next day you can lunch on the leftovers by adding canned tuna and fresh basil to last night’s salad. The crunch is gone but replacing it are intensely flavored ‘croutons’ and marinated tomatoes. It’s so simple!