Beans & Bread

I often combine Fagioli all’ olio and a traditional Tuscan bread salad, Panzanella, for a completely separate creation. It makes a whole meal – vegetarian if you don’t add the optional anchovies. Bread salads are one of those summer staples in our house. Easy to assemble and makes use of lots of ripe tomatoes that are at their best at this time of year.

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Panzanella with Borlotti Beans
Nothing is really measured in this “throw-together” recipe. Also, feel free to add peppers, marinated artichokes, a bunch of fresh rocket (arugula), other fresh herbs…anything that would go together.

  • 1 “day old” loaf of ciabatta or other rustic white bread
  • Fagioli Borlotti all’ olio (see previous post, Speckled Beans)
  • 5 to 6 fresh tomatoes
  • Handful of black, brine-cured olives such as Kalamata
  • 2 Tablespoons caper berries
  • Handful of shredded or cut basil leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 6 marinated anchovy fillets, optional

Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature (approximately 210 degrees F or 100 degrees C). Rip the bread into small chunks and place in a single layer on a baking tray. Place the baking tray into the oven and let the bread dry for about 15 minutes. Take the tray out, spoon the bread, shifting the softer pieces to the top and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

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Put the bread, now slightly crispy into a wide shallow bowl. I know that real Panzanella does not crisp up the bread, but relies on the dry nature of saltless Tuscan bread. Other breads need a little bit more help getting to that stage.

Warm up the beans. Spoon these and their juices onto the bread.

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Cut the tomatoes into chunks, keeping all the juices. Pour the juices and tomato pieces onto the beans and bread.

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Sprinkle on olives, capers and basil.

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Mix up the lot. You will notice that the bread had begun to soak up some of the juices. Adjust seasoning. I added a pinch or two of my aromatic salt. Slosh on the balsamic and olive oil.

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Grate the Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Lay the optional anchovy fillets decoratively on top. Serve and enjoy!

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25 comments

  1. So summery looking. It’s torrential rain (which we are desperate for) and gale force winds (who needs them?) here and cold. I am a fan of bread salads like this as well as the Lebanese Fattoush, so love this idea of adding your super borlotti beans. Delicious.

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    • I’m still getting my head around summer here-winter there at the same time thing. Or, you would say the reverse. Bread salads are great and I find myself buying or making extra bread just so I will have plenty of “stale” bread for making these sorts of salads. I do another one with chickpeas and more Spanish flavours – also yummy!

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  2. Roll on summer! I’ve begun hankering after frequent meals of raw vegies and your salad would fit the bill perfectly, especially as it’s harvested from your garden. We are getting the occasional glimpse of spring…..

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    • We’ve been eating lots of salad meals lately – very similar to your posts during your summer months, if I recall. So, if autumn is around the corner here, spring should be coming your way soon. Hang in there!

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    • Well, autumn will soon be here, so spring is coming your way. though, I’m making the most of our short summer months with salads like this. Too soon it will be soups I am craving!

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    • It is amazingly quick and easy, but it requires that you have a pre-made batch of beans to hand. The beans, on the other hand, require quite a bit of time if you add in the overnight soaking. I make them frequently, just so we can easily pull together recipes like this. Very nutritious and very tasty!

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  3. Panzanella is a favorite dish during the summer when we have loads of tomatoes in our garden. I like your idea of adding beans to the recipe for a filling and complete meal.

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  4. A good way to make a Panzanella more substantial. And having done the beans previously makes it an economical dish, with a few things from the garden and left over bread. I love borlotti beans in anything.This dish makes me yearn for summer and outdoor eating. I struggle with grey days and low light.

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    • It is a good way to make a Panzanella into a filling meal. I thought it up one summer on Greece when I was cooking for a small group of archaeologists, some of whom were vegetarian. I needed a filling meal since they did a lot of hard manual labour everyday. Now, I make it for the family, though I wish I had those sweet, juicy, sun-ripened Greek tomatoes. Hang in there – spring is almost on your doorstep.

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  5. This panzanella looks like a paella 😛 it looks delicious! fresh ingredients shows their colors ❤ I'm following! 😀

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