Panzanella, what a wonderful surprise

So I just stumbled upon this recipe and am very eager to try it!

I must be on an anchovies kick because the last recipe I posted included them as well. Anchovies have such a strong characteristic flavor that really give a dish that certain “je ne sais quoi,” in my opinion. You don’t have to use a lot to give it that powerful taste. 

Look how great this looks:

Panzanella serves 6-8

1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
4-6 ounces day-old peasant bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds scooped out, and diced
1/2 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons drained capers
small handful fresh mint (15-20 leaves) picked and sliced into thin ribbons, divided

For the dressing:
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup good-quality olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Slice the tomatoes in halves or quarters, going for manageable bite-size pieces. Place them in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle the tomatoes with the salt. Set aside to drain for about 15 minutes (place a plate or bowl below to catch some of the juice).

In a large salad bowl, place the drained tomatoes (reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice), bread hunks, chopped cucumber, red onion, capers, and about half of the sliced mint.

In a mortar and pestle, combine the anchovies, garlic, half of the remaining mint and a small pinch of salt. Pound it aggressively to make a paste.

Add the olive oil and vinegar to the reserved 2 tablespoons of tomato juice. Drop in the anchovy paste and whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, shake it all up in a jar. Taste for seasoning; it may need more salt or a few cracks of pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. I like to use my hands to toss a panzanella to feel the juices start penetrating the bread. Allow the salad to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the bread to soak in the juices.

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