Tuscan Bread Salad – Panzanella Jamie Style

I don’t do soggy food.

So croutons have always posed a bit of a dilemma for me… I like them, they’re crunchy and usually flavoured very nicely. However, I tend to push the mushy mess they become to the side of my plate when they are presented to me in a salad.

Except for my sister’s caesar salad… I know for a fact that she adds them in at the last second!

And croutons in soup? I’m sorry, but no. Dipping fresh or toasted bread into soup is perfectly fine and acceptable; in fact, it’s almost mandatory. Presenting me with a large crouton that has been sitting in my soup and is turning beautiful fluffy bread into a glue-like consistency? Just no.

Therefore, it was quite justifiable that I was a little hesitant in trying out a Tuscan bread salad, or panzanella.

Yes, I toasted the croutons a tad too long to make surethat they were nice and crispy. Yes, I waited until all the other salad ingredients were mixed and ready to go before I added them.

And you know what? The world didn’t end! Well, only because I ate my salad first so that my croutons wouldn’t go soggy…


This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, with a few tweaks and omissions here and there (mainly less oil and no anchovies). Interestingly, he seems to have a different method for this salad in Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals and on Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals TV Show. Oh, it’s different online too! I stumbled across the episode on YouTube while I was looking for something else before I realised my sister had bought me the book. So I made it using bits and pieces of information from a couple of different versions.


  • 200g ciabatta (or any other country-style bread)
  • 600g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 200g roasted peppers (freshly roasted or from a jar; roughly chopped)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil (leaves picked; chopped or left whole)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to serve (grated)


  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Tear the ciabatta into thumb-sized pieces. Put the croutons into a roasting tray and drizzle with oil. Add the rosemary sprigs and some sea salt. Mix to combine, making sure the bread is coated.
  3. Place the roasting tray under the grill to toast the croutons for about ten minutes or until golden, but watch them carefully as they can burn very quickly.
  4. Once golden and crisp, empty the croutons into a bowl and set them aside to cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, put the chopped tomatoes and peppers in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the croutons, basil, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine. Taste and season accordingly with additional salt, vinegar or oil.
  6. Add some grated parmesan over the top, add a few extra basil leaves for garnish and serve quickly to avoid soggy croutons.

About Food Daydreaming

I follow new recipes perfectly the first couple of times and then I pull them apart and put them back together my way. My biggest pet peeve is when I follow a recipe to a tee and then it doesn't turn out the way it should... I end up growling in my kitchen and that's just not right ;)

12 responses to “Tuscan Bread Salad – Panzanella Jamie Style

  1. Well this is so timely, I needed a recipe for Panzanella for this weekend. Love Jamie and his recipes. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Yum, it looks so good – from another soggy food non-fan.
    Sophia 🙂

  3. And until yesterday, when Suzanne mentioned a Panzanella recipe I didn’t even know what it was (thank you Google, again). Looks delicious. And thanks for omitting the anchovies 🙂

    • People from different regions tend to her their own name panzanella salads, and I’ve noticed that chefs aren’t consistent with naming either… Ha, no problem, no way were eight anchovies going in my salad!

  4. Ah, it seems you have brought out the non-soggy brigade! I’m with you, I don’t do soggy bread. And as for French onion soup just keep the cheesy bread out of it! Having said that, in Oradea (NE Romania) one of their specialities is soup served in oven roasted bread. Okay, I had to try it and didn’t eat the bread. And it was disappointing. The sour chicken soup was so much better.

    • I once asked to have my crouton from a french onion soup on a side plate and received a really odd look, so yeah, I won’t be doing that again! So is the roasted bread like a bread bowl? Sorry you had a disappointing experience! The bread bowls a cute but not when you find soggy bread in your soup!

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  7. I’m with you to no soggy food! this panzanella salad looks so delicious and just has summer written all over it!

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