The tomato salad here takes inspiration from a classic Italian dish called panzanella. It’s a Tuscan salad with tomato and bread and it’s a seasonal mainstay at our stall. We love it with red onion, capers and basil – it’s perfect with fresh tuna, but also good as a little side dish.
For the Panzanella:
- Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/gas mark ½
- Cut the bread into roughly 1cm/ ½in cubes and place on a baking tray.
- Cook in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the bread is completely dry.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle the croutons with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and leave to cool.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and put them in a large bowl with the croutons, basil, capers and red onion.
- Pour in the red wine vinegar and olive oil, mix well, add the sea salt and set aside.
- The tomatoes need time to macerate and the croutons need to soak up a good deal of the liquid.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and cook, skin-side up, under the hot grill for about 15 minutes until they char and soften.
- Most of the skin will lift away from the peppers, so discard the bits that are easy to remove, but leaving a little gives a nice smoky edge to the flavour. Cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush with a little vegetable oil.
- Place them into the hot pan and sear each side for about 40 seconds to 1 minute.
- Don’t be tempted to add extra oil to the pan as they will be too difficult to handle and will overcook.
- When cooked, remove and cut into 5mm/¼ in slices, then arrange on plates with the panzanella and peppers.
For the pesto dressing:
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a low heat for 5–10 minutes, turning the nuts frequently until they are golden-brown. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Chop all the dry ingredients very finely, including the toasted pine nuts, then place in a bowl and mix together with the olive oil.
- Grate in the parmesan and season to taste.
Extract from Savage Salads: Fierce Flavours, Filling Power-Ups by Davide Del Gatto and Kristina Gustafsson (Frances Lincoln, £16.99).
Main image by Kim Lightbody.