I’ve never been that keen on the sogginess of panzanella but then I read a version, from Marcella Hazan, that uses toasted cubes of bread. Well, if it’s good enough for her, I thought…
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
100ml extra virgin olive oil
250g good bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta
2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
8 anchovies, finely chopped
35g raisins, soaked in just-boiled water and drained
1 tbsp capers, rinsed of salt or brine
4 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
5 radishes (preferably French breakfast radishes), finely sliced
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
Steam the cauliflower until it’s just tender (be careful not to overcook it), then set aside.
Tear the bread into small chunks and heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the bread over a medium heat (in batches if it’s easier) until it’s golden all over – each batch will take about 4-5 mis to get a good colour. Put all the bread back into the pan and add the chilli, garlic and anchovies to the pan (with another tablespoon of oil if necessary) and sauté for a further 2 mins, making sure the garlic doesn’t get too dark. It should be golden, not brown. Tip the bread mixture into a broad shallow serving bowl and add the raisins, capers and parsley.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the frying pan and, over a high heat, fry the cauliflower until tinged with gold. You want a really good colour. Put the cauliflower in the bowl with the bread mixture, add the radishes, balsamic vinegar and the juice of 1/2 lemon and toss everything together. Season, but be careful about how much salt you use because of the anchovies. Taste to see if you need more lemon juice, or even more olive oil, and serve warm.