For me, one thing that’s up there amongst the suckiest things about winter is the lack of tomatoes that actually taste of anything. The only way I’ve found to coax some flavour out of them is to smother them in salt and olive oil and roast them long and slow in the oven. Then they’ll reluctantly relinquish some sweet concentrated flavour, along with delicious umami-rich cooking juices to boot.
Panzanella is one of my favourite summer dishes, so I’ve adapted the basic idea to make it a warming winter dish that can get away with flavour-lacking tomatoes. In fact, I reckon it’s even better than summer panzanella – we’ve had it for dinner three times this year already. It’s incredibly easy to put together and rather healthy too.
I also made use of my new spiralizer (a Christmas gift) to add some greenery in the form of courgettes instead of the summer cucumber. I LOVE the spiralizer, by the way. Far from being a faddy gadget, I’ve already used it loads already since it’s so easy and produces perfect little veggie ribbons that can be cooked in exciting new ways. Any favourite spiralizer recipes to share?
The spiralizer cones in handy to slice onions nice and thin too. Don’t be scared of the raw onion – the acid and salt help to soften it and take away the harshness.
- 3 Large vine tomatoes
- 1/2 Red onion
- 1 Courgette
- Day old (or older) chunk of white baguette or sourdough bread
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 tbs Red wine vinegar
- 1 tbs Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/4 tsp Smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp Sumac
- Cut the tomatoes into six wedges each. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pop the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and leave to roast for 30-45 minutes. They're done when they're starting to burst, brown and release juices.
- Meanwhile thinly slice the red onion. Place into a small bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, sumac, smoked paprika and salt. Leave in the fridge to marinate while the tomatoes cook.
- Spiralize or ribbon the courgette (a vegetable peeler also does the trick). You can either leave this raw for more crunch or lightly fry in a little olive oil.
- Break up the bread into bite-size chunks and put onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and place the whole garlic clove on top. When the tomatoes have about ten minutes left to go, add the bread and garlic to the oven to crisp up.
- When the tomatoes are done, remove from the oven and lightly press with the back of a spatula to squish them a bit. Remove the garlic clove from the bread, thinly slice (just use half if you're a bit garlic-averse) and add to the tomatoes, along with the onion mix and courgettes. At the last minute before serving throw in the bread and toss well to coat with the juices.