This colourful salad shows how fruit can be used in an unexpected savoury context to create a delightful and original dish. A traditional Italian panzanella majors on tomatoes. Strawberries offer a similar, delicious balance of acidity and sweetness, but have a wonderful fragrance all their own. The gentle crunch of and subtle savoury aroma of cucumbers (technically also a fruit) are another lovely feature of this dish – and even the bendy ones that have been in your fridge for a bit will work well! Photo: Simon Wheeler.
Prep 10mins Cook 15mins Servs 6
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks, scatter on a baking tray and put into the oven for just 5-10 minutes, until lightly toasted.
Leave to cool.
Crush half the strawberries with your hands.
Put them into a sieve over a large serving bowl and work them through with the back of a wooden spoon to give a thin strawberry purée.
Whisk in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper. Add the bread and toss. Quarter the remaining strawberries, leaving any smaller ones whole.
Put the the cucumber, onion, fennel, toasted bread, half capers and about half the basil in to the serving bowl. Tossing as you add each ingredient.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Toss the salad one more time, scatter over the remaining basil leaves and capers and serve.
- 300g slightly stale sourdough, ciabatta or other coarse-textured bread
- 500g strawberries, hulled
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 cucumber (150- 200g), roughly peeled and chopped
- 1 small red onion, very finely sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon baby capers, rinsed
- A few basil leaves, shredded or torn
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
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