A Tuscan salad of the ripest, sun-kissed tomatoes and day-old bread – the beauty of this is the way the juices are soaked up by the bread and soften it slightly.
This is my basic variation, but feel free to add cucumber, boiled eggs, tuna, anchovies and capers for an Italian vibe.
- ½ loaf day-old bread (preferably sourdough or crusty French stick)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 10-12 mixed tomatoes (small cherries, large beefsteak, plum, vine, coloured etc)
- Pinch of sugar
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- ½ cup fruity olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, very finely diced or crushed
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2 Lay the peppers on a tray and roast for 20 minutes until the skins are wrinkled. Remove from the tray and leave to cool, then peel off the skin. Halve and remove the seeds, then dice the peppers.
3 Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with the salt and sugar, toss gently and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
4 Tear the bread into small pieces.
5 On a large platter, arrange the diced tomatoes (reserve the juices), torn bread, peppers and fresh basil.
6 Combine the olive oil, garlic, vinegar and remaining tomato juice. Whisk together with a fork, season and spoon over the tomato and bread salad.
About Jo Wilcox
"I have had a love of food my whole life. Lucky for me my mum allowed me to play in the kitchen from the very beginning – from sitting up on the bench watch her peeling peaches for preserving or planning dinner parties from her many Womans Weekly Cookbooks. Starting in my local beach café, I went onto professional cookery training and my big foodie OE working as a professional chef and nanny. At 21 I launched my first restaurant. The following years saw me owning a gourmet cake and dessert shop and then a pasta deli before I discovered the world of food styling. Today I work in food styling making food look beautiful and tasty in packaging and advertising shoots, as well as my most important role yet – Food Editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. I aim to provide great meal solutions that are interesting and approachable, and of course gorgeous foodie photos that make you want to cook them! I love the feedback and the knowledge that people actually cook them and have great results. If I can give someone a love of cooking and enjoying family meal times and gatherings then my job is done!" See www.jowilcox.co.nzmore of this author