Country bread salad

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  • This is our take on the Italian bread salad, panzanella. Well flavoured tomato juice is the base of a garlicky dressing for cherry tomatoes and red peppers - this recipe from Country Homes & Interiors is perfect for lunch in the garden

    Serves 4

    Romano red peppers, cored and cut into small chunks
    10 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
    150g ciabatta or other rustic country bread
    600g cherry tomatoes

    small red onion, sliced as thinly as possible Handful basil leaves
    Handful pitted black olives
    1 plump clove garlic, crushed
    4 to 5 tsps red wine vinegar
    Salt and pepper

    Step 1) Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Scatter the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until soft and just beginning to colour. Tear the bread into small pieces and scatter over the peppers. Drizzle with another 2 tbsps of the oil and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

    Step 2) Halve or quarter the tomatoes (depending on size) and scoop the seeds and pulp into a sieve set over a bowl. Press the pulp with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the juice (if the pulp is quite firm, whizz it in a food processor first so it’s easier to extract the juice). Discard the pulp.

    Step 3) Toss together the roast peppers and bread, tomatoes, onion, basil and olives in a salad bowl. To make the dressing, whisk the tomato juice with the remaining oil, garlic and red wine vinegar, so the dressing is tangy but not too sharp. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad about 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the dressing to soften the bread but not turn it completely soggy.

    Recipe by Joanna Farrow

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