Breakfast is universally acknowledged as one of the main meals of the day: milk, coffee, fruit juices, cookies, brioches, and maybe yoghurt, home made jam and, why not, some pizza.
This is nowadays breakfast. In the past, when my grandma was a child, it was totally different. They used to have panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) for breakfast. I love panzanella, because it’s refreshing, light and good, a summer dish… for lunch or dinner, not for breakfast!
Panzanella was summer breakfast, made with leftover bread. During the winter, they used to have polenta to start the day in a glorious way! It used to be adult people’s breakfast, grandma used to have milk instead – since they had a cow and a goat in the farm. Men who went to work in the fields at dawn made the panzanella in a lunch box and brought it with them in a basket. When breakfast time came, they used to eat the panzanella drinking some home made red wine.
Nowadays, panzanella is a refreshing first course to have during the first summer days.
- 300 g of stale Tuscan bread
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 fresh onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- Tear the bread into large pieces, put it in a large bowl and soak it with water. They used to make panzanella with leftover homemade baked bread: it had a very different and better flavour and took a lot of time to soak up.
- Slice thinly the onion and soak it in cold water, to shade its strong taste.
- Chop the tomatoes and slice the cucumber.
- After 10 minutes, when the bread is soft, squeeze it, crumble it with your hands, put it in a large bowl and dress it with the well drained onion, the chopped tomato, the sliced cucumber and the fresh basil, torn roughly with your hand.
- Season with salt and drizzle generously with of extra virgin olive oil, then pour a small quantity of white wine vinegar.
- If you prefer a more delicate vinegar, opt for an apple cider vinegar.
- Set aside for half an hour in the fridge, then it’s ready to be eaten.