200 g stale ciabatta or other crusty bread, cut or torn into fork-sized chunks200 g kipfler potatoes, cut into ½ cm slices1 sweet potato cut into ½ cm slices1 eggplant cut into ½ cm slices (see tips)2 small red capsicum (see tips)1 red onion, cut into ½ cm rounds1 clove garlic, crushed¼ radicchio, slicedHandful of rocket leaves1 ball of fresh mozzarella (optional)Fresh parsley, leaves picked, stems choppedPomegranate seeds (optional)Salt and pepper 4 tbsp olive oil1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Top tips: Feel free to use good quality store-bought roasted eggplant and capsicum but pop them into the oven when the croutons go in to warm through before adding to your salad. Or at the very least pull them out of the fridge when you decide to make this, so they get a chance to come to room temperature.
This will totally work with store-bought sliced bread too, just be sure to chop into nice big chunks, because it’ll shrink a lot as it bakes.
Classically a staple of a Tuscan summer spread, the ‘pan’ in Panzanella refers to the stale bread croutons bobbing around the platter or bowl, soaking up all those 'tomato-ey' salad juices.
Translated to a winter crisper, this one’s about using what you’ve got: roasted roots, loose leaves – heck – even a jar of antipasti veg like chargrilled capsicum and eggplant! Think of the ingredients in this recipe as serving suggestions and springboards. Get cheesy with mozzarella, or crumbly ricotta, or leave them out completely. For an extra kick, sprinkle capers or anchovies. No matter what you add, be sure to be extra generous with the dressing, because that’s what the croutons are craving for, and will make that old bread better than fresh!
Recipe by Alice Zaslavsky for Sustainability Victoria
Alice Zaslavsky encourages people of all ages to find the joy in cooking and eating. She is the author of a number of best-selling cookbooks and co-hosts foodie radio talkback segments. Her television credits span multiple networks and demographics as host of Kitchen Whiz, Crunch Time, Short Cuts to Glory and Good Food Christmas. Her guest appearances include BBC Breakfast, Postcards, Freshly Picked with Simon Toohey and MasterChef Australia.