I am the hugest fan of a Panzanella salad probably because I adore crunchy golden cubes of roasted bread. So, any excuse really. I have made it a more traditional way which is always a winner, added fried halloumi, mashed it up with Caprese, and most recently I fell deeply in love with it with white anchovies, fennel, and capers. A Greek Panzanella salad makes so much sense if you love feta, olives, and tomatoes. This is a bright sunny Mediterranean salad to pair at any Braai/ BBQ.
The dressing can be made in advance and the recipe is slightly adapted from ‘A Year at Silwood’ By Alicia and Carianne Wilkinson. It’s a most fabulous all-around cookbook with recipes from South Africa’s first cookery school. It’s been beautifully published by Quivertree Publications, and I can’t wait to try more recipes from it.
As far as the salad goes, there is no need to stick to a recipe, but I have included one as a guideline. Add as much or less of any ingredient as you like. I personally love more tomatoes and croutons and less feta, but most people I know can’t get enough of this cheese. The salad dressing is the star of the show and I’ve been eating it on all kinds of things since I made this. It’s my new favourite dressing and I have a few.
With any simple dish such as this and in particular with a salad, use the best ingredients you can. I love the Tokara range of extra virgin olive oils and their unfiltered EVOO redefines the meaning of untouched. I always have a vat of it in my kitchen. This multi-varietal blend is available on tap at the Deli and works really well as a finishing olive oil for salads (vs cooking with it). TOKARA Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil and their Estate Blend available (exclusively at Woolworths) were both awarded gold medals while the rest of the range earned silver at the recent SA Olive Oil Awards.
*Cooks notes – when making croutons I love to use my hands to tear the softer parts of the bread apart. This creates more of an uneven surface area to suck up the olive oil and create crispier bits. I loved the addition of the 2 rosa tomatoes to the dressing. It gives it a lovely pink tinge and imparts a very subtle tomato flavour which adds to the whole salad. Use a mix of very ripe in-season tomatoes with this salad to get the maximum flavour impact. No watery just-bought bland supermarket specimens will do.
*Wine pairing – This summery Greek Panzanella salad paired beautifully with the Merwida Papenkuils Vlei Vygie Rosé. It has a very light and beautiful pink color as the skin contact is limited to six hours during the winemaking process. This rosé boasts aromas reminiscent of a fresh bouquet of red fruits, such as strawberries, and a fragrant sweet nose. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and can’t wait to try the rest in the range.
Salad – serves 4 – 6Print
Greek Panzanella salad
A delicious Greek Panzanella x=salad with the most amazing salad dressing with hints of tomato.
- Prep Time: 15
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Category: salad
½ a loaf of ciabatta, cut into thick slices then torn into rough cubes
Olive oil to lightly coat
A small pinch of dried oregano (optional)
A sprinkle of sea salt flakes and a grind of black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
60ml/ 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves (lightly packed) (or use 1 tsp dried)
125ml / ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of Maldon salt
2 baby rosa tomatoes (optional)
Approx. 400 – 500gms very ripe mixed tomatoes (Roma, rosa and cherry, or any in-season heirloom varieties will be lovely here)
1 Mediterranean cucumber or ½ and an English cucumber (or more)
1 red onion cut into thin slices
100–200gms / feta depending on how much you like
½ cup black calamata style olives
To make the croutons:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and toss the torn bread into a baking tray. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and massage this into the bread. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and a pinch of oregano and roast for about 15 – to 20 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside to cool.
To make the dressing:
Place all the ingredients for the salad dressing into the bowl of a small food processor and blend until emulsified and thoroughly incorporated Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Make the Salad just before you want to serve. Mix all the ingredients except the feta into a large bowl and coat with as much of the salad dressing as desired. Crumble the feta over in chunks.
Keywords: Greek, salad, Panzanella, best salad dressing
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